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Stanko Abadžic - Stone Head and Architecture
Stanko Abadžic
Stone Head and Architecture
$1,500
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget - Escalier de l’Hôtel de Beauvais, 68 rue François Miron. Paris 4
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget
Escalier de l’Hôtel de Beauvais, 68 rue François Miron. Paris 4
$3,500
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget - Grille de l’ancien pavillon de chasse de Philippe-Égalité (Hospice Debrousse), 148 rue de Bagnolet. Paris 20
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget
Grille de l’ancien pavillon de chasse de Philippe-Égalité (Hospice Debrousse), 148 rue de Bagnolet. Paris 20
$5,000
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget - Hotel de Beauvais, Paris IV
Jean-Eugene-Auguste Atget
Hotel de Beauvais, Paris IV
$4,000
Tom Baril - Long Island City (night)
Tom Baril
Long Island City (night)
$5,500
Tom Baril - Midway Diner, Staten Island
Tom Baril
Midway Diner, Staten Island
$5,500
Tom Baril - Night Scene (w / Trunk), Hackensack, NJ
Tom Baril
Night Scene (w / Trunk), Hackensack, NJ
$7,500
Tom Baril - Smoke Stacks (with Chrysler Building), LIC, NY
Tom Baril
Smoke Stacks (with Chrysler Building), LIC, NY
$5,500
Tom Baril - Smoke Stacks, Brooklyn, NY
Tom Baril
Smoke Stacks, Brooklyn, NY
$5,500
Tom Baril - Square Diner, New York City
Tom Baril
Square Diner, New York City
$4,000
Tom Baril - Warehouse. Brooklyn, NY
Tom Baril
Warehouse. Brooklyn, NY
$5,500
Ilse Bing - Empire State Building at Night, New York
Ilse Bing
Empire State Building at Night, New York
$10,000
By Matt Damsker

The world's architecture has always been one of photography's great subjects, and this was especially so in the 20th century, amidst the flowering of Modernism both in architectural design and photo-aesthetics. Whether focused on the classical structures of the past, the skyscrapers of the 1930s and beyond, or the vernacular of bus stations, industrial locales, or apartment houses, the most inspired photographers of the last 100 years explored architecture with ever-faster films, more portable cameras, and an expanding stylistic repertoire that continues to this day.

Indeed, architecture is a durable subject for experimentation--from Edward Steichen's famous 1932 multiple exposure of the Empire State Building, to the blurred double-vision of Krzysztof Pruszkowski's Egyptian obelisks or Charlie Schreiner's symmetrical studies of streets and office towers. In these and the other startling views featured in this exhibit, towering masses of stone, steel, and glass take on a new expressiveness, texturally richness, and suggest a fresh relationship not only to the viewer but also to the surrounding world.

For example, the Gothic architecture of a great New York cathedral becomes a symbol of aesthetic evolution when viewed alongside a 1930s office tower that is nothing less than a no-frills emblem of international style. And a pastoral view of a humble New England church--partially obscured by trees, and shot from a foreshortened perspective--attests to the secular, formalist approach to subject matter that was one mark of early Modernism. At the same time, the sheer visual rhythm and intersecting planes of architecture lent movement and structure to still photography, resulting in powerful studies of contrasting light and mass, whether in Jerry Spagnoli's contemporary daguerreotypes, James Craig Annan's 1924 study of the Parthenon or Frank Harbidge's 1935 overview of a British waterway lined with deserted buildings.

In the 20th century, architectural photography lent itself just as much to a modernist sense of alienation and spiritual exhaustion as to the documentarian impulse to capture great landmarks in fresh or subversive ways. Shot from ground level, an image of a tall apartment building with an airplane traversing the sky above becomes a disorienting, dizzying marriage of stasis and motion, suggesting the new angularities and deceptive distances of modern life. Similarly, an image of a solitary man reading a newspaper--glimpsed from a high vantage point between the imposing straight lines and zig-zags of building walls and stairwells--is a study in the urban dwarfing of the human presence.

Less metaphysically, 20th-century architectural photos can be wonderful studies in sheer detail, mood and texture, as in Eugene Atget's rich, full-frontal 1905 image of an ornate façade at the Hotel de Lauzun in Paris, or Timothy Rice's equally head-on 1998 appreciation of a Greyhound Bus Depot in West Virginia, lit like a beacon for all the transient souls of America.

As this exhibit makes clear, the best photographers will never cease to make powerful images out of the functional and decorative forms that shelter and surround us, helping us to see them in an unexpected light.

Architectural Photography in the 20th-Century
About This Exhibit
Image List

Exhibited and Sold By
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.

258 Inverness Circle
Chalfont, Pennsylvania   18914   USA

Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith

Email info@vintageworks.net

Phone +1-215-822-5662

Call for an Appointment

 

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1 to 12 of 34