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Photograph - Three Men Sitting on Steps by the Seine

Three Men Sitting on Steps by the Seine

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)

  • Date:

    1931 (made)
    after 1931 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bing, Ilse, born 1899 - died 1998 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin-silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Ilse Bing Wolff

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 913, box C

Ilse Bing (1899–1998) was one of several leading women photographers in the inter-war period. Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, she initially pursued an academic career before moving to Paris in 1930 to concentrate on photography.

Paris presented a complex urban scene that was modern yet also worn and weathered. As with contemporary Surrealist townscapes, the past broke through. The clean planes and geometrical structures of the modern urban fabric cast light on the battered remains of an older place – the exhausted pomp of the Père Lachaise cemetery, or dark apartment blocks reflected in gutters. Her best images of Paris are informed by a chaotic layering of signs of disregarded culture, like the wasted potted plants in her study of a pavement or the abject torn posters on a wooden fence.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of men sitting on steps by the Seine in Paris, viewed from behind and above.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)


1931 (made)
after 1931 (printed)


Bing, Ilse, born 1899 - died 1998 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin-silver print


Width: 35.4 cm sheet, Height: 28 cm sheet, Width: 34 cm image, Height: 26.7 cm image

Descriptive line

'Three men sitting on steps by the Seine', photograph by Ilse Bing, 1931

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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