Make A Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York)

Media - 1993.72.1 - SAAM-1993.72.1_1 - 11764
Copied Robert McNeill, Make A Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York), 1938, gelatin silver print, image: 7 129 58 in. (19.124.5 cm) sheet: 8 x 10 in. (20.325.4 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum purchase, 1993.72.1, © 1938, Robert McNeill

Artwork Details

Title
Make A Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York)
Date
1938
Location
Not on view
Dimensions
image: 7 129 58 in. (19.124.5 cm) sheet: 8 x 10 in. (20.325.4 cm)
Copyright
© 1938, Robert McNeill
Credit Line
Museum purchase
Mediums Description
gelatin silver print
Classifications
Keywords
  • Figure group
  • Cityscape — New York — New York
  • Occupation — domestic
  • African American
  • Cityscape — New York — Bronx
Object Number
1993.72.1

Artwork Description

In 1937, after enrolling at the New York Institute of Photography, McNeill did a series on black domestic workers for Fortune magazine. The sophisticated composition and nuanced handling of light and space in Make a Wish (Bronx Slave Market, 170th Street, New York) did not, however, mask the irony in the image of women waiting on a street corner hoping to pick up a day’s work in front of a poster advertising a movie for those with leisure time. When Fortune rejected the pictures, Flash!, a magazine aimed at middleclass black readers, published them as a thirteen-photograph feature.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012