Documentary photographer Berenice Abbott (1898-1991), best known for her black and white photographs of New York City architecture, is featured with a retrospective exhibition of her work at Paris’ Jeu de Paume. With over 120 black and white photographs, plus a selection of books and documents never shown before, this is the first exhibition in France to cover the many aspects of her work.
Along with her pictures of New York, Abbott is also famous for her role in promoting the work of the legendary photographer Eugene Atget, who documented the streets and architecture of Paris between 1897 and 1927. Among the gems of the exhibition is a copy of the 1930 book “Atget, photographe de Paris” in which she is described as photo editor.
Abbott came to Paris in 1921 where she learned her craft as Man Ray’s darkroom assistant before opening her own studio specializing in portraits. The exhibition includes a number of these portraits including pictures of Jean Cocteau and James Joyce as well as a gorgeous picture of Abbott herself taken by Man Ray in 1925. During her Paris sejour, she adopted the French spelling of her first name “Berenice” at the suggestion of Djuna Barnes.
In addition to these early Paris portraits the exhibition includes her best known project “Changing New York” (1935-39) and many lesser known pictures such as those taken in 1954 when traveling along the US East Coast Route 1.
Berenice Abbott, to April 29, Jeu de Paume, Place Concord, Paris.