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Brooklyn Bridge, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn

1936 Berenice Abbott Born: Springfield, Ohio 1898 Died: Monson, Maine 1991 gelatin silver print sheet: 18 x 14 3/8 in. (45.7 x 36.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Transfer from the Evander Childs High School, Bronx, New York through the General Services Administration 1975.83.10 Not currently on view

Exhibition Label

Berenice Abbott returned home in 1929 after nearly eight years abroad and found herself fascinated by the rapid growth of New York City. She saw the city as bristling with new buildings and structures that seem to her as solid and as permanent as a mountain range. Aiming to capture “the past jostling the present,” Abbott spent the next five years on a project she called Changing New York.
In Brooklyn Bridge, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn, Abbott presented a century of history in a single image. The Brooklyn Bridge, once a marvel of modern engineering, seems dark and heavy compared with the skeletal structure beneath it. The construction site at center suggests the never-ending cycle of death and regeneration. And the Manhattan skyline, veiled and weightless, hangs just out of reach, its shape accommodating the ambitious spirit of American modernism.

A Democracy of Images: Photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2013


Architecture - bridge - Brooklyn Bridge

Architecture - industry

Cityscape - New York - Brooklyn

Cityscape - New York New York

Cityscape - street - Dock Street

Cityscape - street - Water Street

New Deal - Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project - New York

photography - photoprint


gelatin silver

About Berenice Abbott

Born: Springfield, Ohio 1898 Died: Monson, Maine 1991

More works in the collection by
Berenice Abbott