INSCRIBED BY BERENICE ABBOTT, VERY SCARCE PRESENTATION/ASSOCIATION FIRST EDITION OF HER LANDMARK PHOTOBOOK, CHANGING NEW YORK
ABBOTT, Berenice. Changing New York. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1939. Quarto, original blue cloth, original photographic dust jacket. Housed in a custom clamshell box. $7000.
First edition of Abbott’s groundbreaking photo-essay on New York City, a memorable presentation/association copy inscribed by Abbott on the title page to Howard Daitz, long associated with New York's famed Witkin Gallery, "For Howard Daitz, Berenice Abbott," with laid-in printed April 16, 1976 invitation to the Witkin Gallery, along with an April 3, 1976 invitation to a reception honoring Abbott at Washington D.C.'s Lunn Gallery. Featuring 97 brilliant halftone plates that display “the historical importance of the documentary mode… its power as a medium of personal expression” (Parr & Badger), in very scarce dust jacket.
After spending the better part of the Twenties in Paris photographing such literary celebrities as James Joyce, Jean Cocteau and Andre Gide, Berenice Abbott returned to New York with the intention “to do in Manhattan what Atget did in Paris.” Abbott captured the city “with a straightforward style that nodded toward 19th-century classicism while signaling a new sort of stripped-down modernism” (Roth, 100). “Changing New York not only fulfills Abbott’s criterion for the historical importance of the documentary mode, but also demonstrates its power as a medium of personal expression” (Parr & Badger I:141), providing “a distinctive interpretation of New York as well as a priceless document thereof” (Icons of Photography, 104). Text by Elizabeth McCausland. "First Edition" stated on copyright page. Open Book, 130. The recipient of this scarce presentation/association copy, Howard Daitz, was one of photography’s most respected collectors. Long associated with New York’s renowned Witkin Gallery, he was the husband of Evelyne Daitz, who was director of the Witkin Gallery during Lee Witkin’s lifetime, and became the gallery’s owner and director on his death in 1984. With the closing of the historic Witkin gallery space in 1999, Evelyne Daitz archived its files in honor of Lee Witkin’s bequest to the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona, Tucson. In George Sullivan’s biography of Abbott, he especially notes “Special thanks” to Evelyne Daitz, the Witkin Gallery and Howard Daitz for “their time in providing me with specific information about Abbott” (Berenice Abbott, 153).
Book fine; mild toning to spine, slight chipping to spine head affecting "C" of title and to rear panel of scarce very good unrestored dust jacket. A highly desirable inscribed presentation copy with an especially notable association.