Berenice Abbott


After trying her hand at writing and sculpture, Berenice Abbott (American, 1898-1991) relocated from New York to Paris in 1921, working first as an assistant in Man Ray's portrait studio. She opened her own studio for portrait photography in 1926, around the time she met Eugène Atget. After his death in 1927 she and Julien Levy, a New York art dealer and collector who specialized in Surrealism, purchased part of his estate. Abbott brought Atget's work to wider audience in the following years through exhibitions and publications. She returned to the US in 1929 and, informed by the aesthetic of the European avant-garde, began to photograph New York. Her documentation of the city from 1935 on was published in Changing New York. In 1968 she and Levy sold their Atget collection to the Museum of Modern Art in New York.