[Geometric Backyards, New York]

Artist: Paul Strand (American, New York 1890–1976 Orgeval, France)

Date: 1917

Medium: Platinum print

Dimensions: Image: 24.6 × 32.6 cm (9 11/16 × 12 13/16 in.)
Sheet: 25.5 × 33.3 cm (10 1/16 × 13 1/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.12

Rights and Reproduction: © Aperture Foundation Inc., Paul Strand Archive.


When he made this picture in 1917, Strand was living in his family's townhouse on West 83rd Street in New York. For twenty-four years he had seen the view from the back window. But it was only after the summer of 1916, when he had made abstractions from porch shadows in Connecticut, that he could see the backyards, sheets, and shadows this way. Once he had discovered the picture under his nose, Strand might have said, as did the sculptor Archipenko, "New York is a visible abstraction."