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Berenice Abbott & Elizabeth McCausland

andrew potter
Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991), born Bernice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her black-and-white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of the 1930s.

Berenice Abbott was a central figure in twentieth-century photography. She moved from her home in Ohio to Paris in the 1920s and worked as an assistant to artist/photographer Man Ray. After setting up her own studio, she produced portraits of the writers and artists on the Rive Gauche scene, including Jean COCTEAU, André GIDE, Djuna BARNES, and Janet FLANNER. (Picture: Berenice Abbott by Carl Van Vechten)

In Paris she discovered the man whom many now regard as the finest photographer of all time: Eugène Atget. Abbott rescued him from obscurity, helped popularize his work, and preserved his negatives and prints after he died in 1927.

In 1929, Abbott returned to America and began documenting the daily life of New York, much as Atget had done in Paris. She published the result, Changing New York (1939), to wide public acclaim; it’s still in print. In the 1950s Abbott turned to scientific photography, producing stunning studies of electricity, magnetism, and the effects of light. (Picture: Elizabeth McCausland by Berenice Abbott)

Abbott was a self-described loner, but she is known to have had same-sex affairs throughout her long life. Among her lovers in Paris was artists’ model Tylia Perlmutter. Abbott and sculptor Gwen LeGallienne were once arrested together in a Paris lesbian bar on the Rue de Lappe. But Abbott’s longtime companion was art critic Elizabeth McCausland, author of the 1952 biography of painter Marsden HARTLEY. In 1935 Abbott moved into a Greenwich Village loft with McCausland, with whom she lived until McCausland's death in 1965. McCausland was an ardent supporter of Abbott, writing several articles for the Springfield Daily Republican, as well as for Trend and New Masses (the latter under the pseudonym Elizabeth Noble). In addition, McCausland contributed the captions for the book of Abbott's photographs entitled Changing New York which was published in 1939.


Berenice Abbott by Man Ray
Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991), born Bernice Abbott, was an American photographer best known for her black-and-white photography of New York City architecture and urban design of t he 1930s. She is the author of Changing New York. Abbott’s longtime companion was art critic Elizabeth McCausland, author of the 1952 biography of painter Marsden HARTLEY. In 1935 Abbott moved into a Greenwich Village loft with McCausland, with whom she lived until McCausland's death in 1965.



Blossom Restaurant_103 Bowery_1935


Automat_1936


Doorway Redwell House_29 East 4th Street_1937


Financial district rooftops_1938


Flatiron Building_1938


HARDWARE STORE_316-318 Bowery at Bleeker Street_1938


Hot Dog Stand_West St and North Moore_1936


Huts and unemployed_West Houston and Mercer St_1935


John Wanamakers_Fourth Avenue and 9th Street


Manhattan Bridge Looking Up_1936


Penn Station Interior


Pike and Henry Street_1936


Radio Row


Seventh Avenue looking south from 35th Street_1935

Abbott was also intimate with the flamboyant Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, who notoriously placed dog excrement on the doorstep of editor Margaret ANDERSON during a dispute.

Abbott introduced author Djuna BARNES to sculptor Thelma Wood, who became Barnes’ lover. Later Barnes would say, “I gave Berenice the extra ‘e’ in her name and she gave me Thelma. I don’t know who made out better.”

Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 972-987). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1500563323
ISBN-13: 978-1500563325
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time

Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher


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