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Photograph - Chinese poster with man, Village, New York

Chinese poster with man, Village, New York

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    New York (City) (photographed)

  • Date:

    1936 (photographed)
    1936-1939 (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 J

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. This photograph was taken during a trip to New York organised by the author Hendrik Willem Van Loon, who supported Bing.

Bing had photographed run down streets, street posters and the ongoing degradation of the city for a commission for the photographer and critic Emmanuel Sougez (1889-1972) in Paris in 1934 for the magazine L’Art vivante. Sougez admired her style and treatment of ‘the sad faces of our old streets’, naming her the ‘sensitive and artistic Ilse Bing’. Bing used her Leica camera to take photojournalistic images of everyday scenes, seizing a moment and immortalising it. This composition of New York looks at once posed and spontaneous, characteristic of modern photoreportage. The timeless quality of the image contradicts the urgent and poignant implications of hard times and inequalities in the city.

Physical description

A black and white photograph showing a man of Chinese origin on the left next to some flowers he is selling. To his right are piles of broken crates and rubbish, and behind him are Chinese posters peeling off the wall.

Place of Origin

New York (City) (photographed)


1936 (photographed)
1936-1939 (printed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin-silver print

Marks and inscriptions

reverse in pencil. Ilse Bing Wolff Estate's archival reference for the work assigned prior to acquisition by the V&A.

'ILSE BING 1936'
Written in black ink by artist, bottom right of image.


Height: 28.1 cm, Width: 21.2 cm

Descriptive line

'Chinese poster with man, Village, New York' photographed in 1936 by Ilse Bing (1899-1998)

Subjects depicted





Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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