Union Square, Manhattan

Object Details


Union Square, Manhattan


Berenice Abbott (American, 1898 - 1991)




July 16, 1936


Gelatin silver print


19.7 x 24.8 cm (7 3/4 x 9 3/4 in.)

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Oblivious to Berenice Abbott's camera, pedestrians at Union Square in New York City were photographed mid-stride on an especially sunny and warm day. Union Square has long been a center of commercial activity, as well as a busy intersection where people catch one of the many subway or bus lines that run along Lexington Avenue, Columbus or Broadway. While recording the intersection, Abbot also documented the area's prominent billboards and businesses.

Abbott's intention when making this photograph was not simply to record a place, but to convey the vitality of New York. Her work during this period parallels that of Walker Evans, who often photographed New York's hurrying pedestrians, advertisements, and varieties of architecture as evidence of popular culture.

Neither Speech nor Language: Photography and the Written Word (February 28 to May 12, 1991)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), February 28 to May 12, 1991
The Man in the Street: Eugène Atget in Paris (June 20 to October 8, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 20 to October 8, 2000
The American Tradition and Walker Evans (July 10 to October 28, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 10 to October 28, 2001

The American Tradition & Walker Evans: Photographs from the Getty Collection, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum), fig. 8.