Berenice Abbott

Creator Details

  • Birth

    Jul. 17, 1898 (Springfield, Ohio)

  • Death

    Dec. 10, 1991 (Monson, Maine)

In 1921, a young American artist named Berenice Abbott moved to Paris to study sculpture. But she soon started working for expat photographer Man Ray and established herself as a portrait photographer, capturing members of the vibrant Paris arts community like George Antheil, Djuna Barnes, Jean Cocteau, Max Ernst, Peggy Guggenheim, James Joyce, and Claude McKay. Abbott also took an interest in Eugène Atget, an older French photographer who documented “Old Paris,” and worked to bring his archive to New York. Back in the city after eight years abroad, Abbott was struck by its rapid transformation and undertook her own major documentary project, the WPA-sponsored Changing New York. Then in the 1940s she shifted again, deciding that she wanted to work to translate scientific advancement for a lay audience.

The Carter is home to over 500 photographs by Abbott, most from a large set of 1970s work prints that includes examples from across 50 years of her career.

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