The Daily News Building and Chrysler Building Tops

Photograph
1936 (made)
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.

In the 1930s Bing was championed in the USA by the writer Willem Hendrik van Loon, who introduced her work to the editors of Harpers Bazaar magazine and the influential gallerist Julian Levy. In her scenes of New York, made during her visit in 1936, Bing resolved her interests in Modernist design and the comedies of urban randomness. Her skills as a photojournalist are evident in vernacular sidewalk scenes such as this – gatherings of ethnic minorities, card schools and barber’s shop frontages, reminiscent of contemporary American realist painting. This populist iconography is combined with responses to modern architecture – a subject also shared with contemporary American photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Berenice Abbott.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin-silver print
Brief Description
'The Daily News Building and Chrysler Building tops', photograph by Ilse Bing, 1936, vintage gelatin-silver print
Physical Description
Black and white photograph of the tops of four soaring New York skyscrapers against a grey sky.
Dimensions
  • Width: 27.9cm
  • Height: 20cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
'161-53-c5' (Archival reference from cataloguing prior to acquisition by V&A)
Gallery Label
  • Bing was one of several leading European women photographers of the inter-war period. Her immediate and highly successful use of the world's most advanced camera, the Leica, earned her the title 'Queen of the Leica'. Bing supported herself through commercial photography, gaining a reputation as a photojournalist and a fashion photographer. This image of New York, with its minimalist composition and extreme vantage point, highlights the city's soaring modern architecture.(April 2009-April 2010)
  • Gallery 100, ‘History of photography’, 2012-2013, label texts : Ilse Bing (1899 – 1998) ‘Rockefeller Center and Chrysler Building Tops’ 1936 Bing was one of several successful European women photographers of the inter-war period. She supported herself through commercial photography, gaining a reputation as a photojournalist and a fashion photographer. This image of New York, with its minimalist composition and extreme vantage point, highlights the city’s soaring modern architecture. Gelatin silver print Bequeathed by Ilse Bing Wolff Museum no. E.3029-2004 (11 03 2014)
Credit line
Bequeathed by Ilse Bing Wolff
Production
Vintage print
Place Depicted
Summary
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.



In the 1930s Bing was championed in the USA by the writer Willem Hendrik van Loon, who introduced her work to the editors of Harpers Bazaar magazine and the influential gallerist Julian Levy. In her scenes of New York, made during her visit in 1936, Bing resolved her interests in Modernist design and the comedies of urban randomness. Her skills as a photojournalist are evident in vernacular sidewalk scenes such as this – gatherings of ethnic minorities, card schools and barber’s shop frontages, reminiscent of contemporary American realist painting. This populist iconography is combined with responses to modern architecture – a subject also shared with contemporary American photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz and Berenice Abbott.
Collection
Accession Number
E.3029-2004

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record createdJune 23, 2004
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