According to Abbott scholar Bonnie Yochelson, the image offered here is one of the early photographs taken by Abbott upon her return from Paris to New York in 1929. Influenced by Man Ray and Atget while in Paris, Abbott came back to New York after her eight-year sojourn with a fresh perspective. Her first photographs, made with a handheld camera that Abbott used only for a short period of time before transitioning to a larger 8 by 10-inch view camera, show the vitality of daily life in New York (cf. O'Neal, p. 76-77). An album of contact prints of these early studies is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
In the early 1930s, Abbott made enlargements of many of these images for publication or exhibition. The enlarged prints were often mounted by Abbott and signed on the mount. This photograph, which has been removed from a mount, may well have been made during that time.
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