Berenice Abbott, New York at Night (a.k.a. Night View New York), 1932

Berenice Abbott, Gambetta Snuff Shop, 113 Division Street, New York, 1938

Introduction to the Exhibition

This exhibition presents twenty-eight photographs printed directly from Abbott’s negatives that she created between 1929 and 1940. It also includes a sketch of key events from Abbott's life and more than a dozen quotes from the same time period—in Abbott’s own words—that I selected from her extensive archive of correspondence, interviews, and publications.

My hope is that these images and texts will allow you to reconstruct for yourself Abbott’s evolving motivations, attitudes, and sources of inspiration. As you make your way through the exhibition, notice the various ways that Abbott contextualized and promoted her project as well as the ways she revisited certain subjects and arranged the city’s “complex social scene” (a term she started using in 1935) in her remarkable photographs.


Exhibition and website curated by Peter Barr, PhD.