85
85
Margaret Bourke-White
'STORAGE TANKS, I. G. FARBEN CHEMICAL CO., LEUNA, GERMANY'
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 78,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT
85
Margaret Bourke-White
'STORAGE TANKS, I. G. FARBEN CHEMICAL CO., LEUNA, GERMANY'
Estimate
30,00050,000
LOT SOLD. 78,125 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

175 Masterworks To Celebrate 175 Years Of Photography: Property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation

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New York

Margaret Bourke-White
1904-1971
'STORAGE TANKS, I. G. FARBEN CHEMICAL CO., LEUNA, GERMANY'
large-format, warm-toned with inked borders, mounted, credit, title, and 'Courtesy - Fortune Magazine' in a calligraphic hand in ink and with The American Federation of Arts exhibition label on the mount, 1930
18 5/8  by 13 in. (47.8 by 33.5 cm.)
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Provenance

Estate of sculptor Ruth N. Greacen, wife of New York painter Edmund Greacen

William Doyle Galleries, New York, 5 December 1997

Exhibited

American Federation of Arts, circa 1930s

Literature

'Nitrogen,' Fortune, October 1930, Vol. 2, No. 4, p. 61 (variants)

Sean Callahan, ed., The Photographs of Margaret Bourke-White (Greenwich, 1972), p. 64 

Taking Place: Photographs from the Prentice & Paul Sack Collection (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 2005), pl. 149

Catalogue Note

One of the top commercial photographers of her day, Bourke-White had a flair for imparting a sophisticated design sense to diverse subject matter.  On assignment for Fortune, Bourke-White photographed at the industrial complex of Germany’s I. G. Farben, the leading producer of nitrogen in the world.  According to the four-part Fortune article, ‘Nitrogen,’ Farben’s Leunawerk facility was, at 1,500 acres, the largest and most profitable industrial center in Europe.  It employed 130,000 workers, the most of any firm outside the United States.

More than most photographers of her day, Bourke-White was able to incorporate what were then radical compositional ideas into her commercial and editorial work.  Like Edward Steichen, Bourke-White was visually omnivorous and was always on the lookout for exciting compositional strategies that would set her pictures apart from those of competing photographers.  The influence of Modernism and Constructivism characterizes her best work from the 1930s, as in the photograph offered here.  With its depiction of rows of multiple, gigantic balloon-like tanks, divorced from any establishing context, this photograph exemplifies Bourke-White's innate talent for composing dynamic images.

Known for its talented editors and progressive art directors, Fortune magazine maintained an adventurous attitude toward photography, frequently publishing images that bordered on the abstract or were compositionally dramatic in other ways.  Bourke-White found that her editorial work for Fortune allowed her a high degree of creative control, and the work she produced on assignment for the magazine is some of her best.  

This impressively-sized exhibition print was originally part of an American Federation of Arts exhibition.  Founded by Secretary of State Elihu Root in 1909, the Federation was charged with creating touring exhibitions of original artworks.

175 Masterworks To Celebrate 175 Years Of Photography: Property from Joy of Giving Something Foundation

|
New York