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New York Stories

Vintage Postwar Photographs

February 6 – March 27, 2020

01. Beuford Smith, Flag Day, Harlem, ​1976. Detail of two windows of an apartment building; a woman leans out of the right window, an American flag hangs from the left.
02. Beuford Smith, Man with Roses, 125th Street, ​1972. Upper body portrait of a man facing the left of the frame holding a small bouquet of roses.
03. Beuford Smith, Boy Holding Flag, ​1966. A young boy stands silhouetted beside a tree trunk, facing the street, a small Puerto Rican flag over his shoulder.
04. Beuford Smith, Palm Sunday, ​1968. A woman seated on a crowded subway, hands crossed in her lap and eyes closed.
05. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, ​c. 1959. Pedestrians walk horizontally across the frame on a sidewalk across the street from the Bank of New York, seen in the background.
06. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled (Staten Island Ferry), ​c. 1949. Figures standing on a covered pier with a city skyline in the background.
07. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled (Penn Station), ​c. 1949. Rear view of a young girl standing beside a man sitting on a suitcase.
08. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, ​c. 1949. Many pedestrians walking on a street corner from a slightly elevated view. Cars and double-decker busses can be seen on the street.
09. Jan Lukas, Untitled, ​1964. Pedestrians walk over a footbridge labeled "Manhattan" above a multi-lane road with cars.
10. Jan Lukas, New York, 32nd Street, ​1964. A man with a trenchcoat and umbrella walks across a wet car-lined street. The neon sign for Gimbels is on the left midground.
11. Jan Lukas, Untitled, ​1964. Foreground detail of a car's surface reflecting a tree. City skyline is visible in the background.
12. Jan Lukas, New York, Fulton Fishmarket, ​1964. Three men standing in front of a metal structure. The Brooklyn Bridge is seen in the background left.
13. Jeanne Ebstel, Untitled, ​c. 1947. Group of children in swimsuits on the street, being sprayed with water gushing from out of the frame.
14. Jeanne Ebstel, Untitled, c. 1947. A young boy and a man sit across from each other playing checkers. Another boy seated between them gestures emphatically towards the man.
15. Jeanne Ebstel, Untitled, ​c. 1947. A woman holds up a young girl by the waist to raise her to a drinking fountain.
16. Jeanne Ebstel, Untitled, ​c. 1947. Two young boys lean across from each other at a wooden table playing checkers, with a third boy standing between them.
17. Anthony Barboza, NYC, ​1970s. Street scene. Two small black children holding toy guns in the foreground with a line of women on the sidewalk to the left. A middle-aged white woman stands in the center of the car-lined street.
18. Anthony Barboza, Cactus & Shadows, NYC, 1970s. Shadows of two figures on the sidewalk in front of a window with two large potted cacti.
19. Anthony Barboza, Harlem, NY, ​1970s. A smiling, well-dressed black woman in a flowered hat smiles on the street corner.
20. Anthony Barboza, NYC, ​1970s. A black couple recline on a wooden park bench.
21. Weegee, Washington Square Park, c. 1955. A couple, a woman, and a toddler lounge on a set of stone steps.
22. Weegee, Herald Square Distortion, ​c. 1950. Elevated view of the street and buildings distorted with a funhouse mirror-type effect.
23. Weegee, James Dean in Greenwich Village, ​c. 1955. Two seated figures in the foreground embrace while Dean holds his hand to his face with a cigarette in the background left.
24. Weegee, Marilyn at the Circus, ​c. 1955. Marilyn Monroe in a feathered costume riding on the back of an elephant.
25. Donald Blumberg, In Front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, ​1965. The heads of three women are seen in the lower third of the otherwise black frame.
26. Donald Blumberg, In Front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, ​1965. The heads of two nuns, facing the camera, and two men, facing away appear in the lower third of the otherwise black frame.
27. Donald Blumberg, In Front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, ​1965. A crowd featuring four women and three men fill the lower diagonal right two-thirds of the otherwise black frame.
28. Donald Blumberg, In Front of St. Patrick's Cathedral, ​1965. A crowd occupies the lower left diagonal third of the otherwise black frame.
29. David Attie, Untitled, c. 1955. Distorted view of various lit signs and advertisements at night.
30. David Attie, Times Square, ​c. 1955. Blurry, distorted view of lit signs such as "Pepsi-Cola" at night.
31. David Attie, New York Distortion, ​1950. Wavy distortion of the city skyline in the lower third of the frame.
32. David Attie, Flatiron Building, ​c. 1955. Blurry view of figures in the street and birds in flight in front of the Flatiron Building in the center midground.
33. Fritz Neugass, Untitled, ​c. 1948. Distorted reflection of skyscrapers.
34. Fritz Neugass, 42nd Street, ​c. 1948. Patrons beneath a reflective outdoor overhang so that their mirror image is above them.
35. Fritz Neugass, Penn Station, ​c. 1948. Light streams into the station diagonally down a set of stairs from a large window on the top left of the frame. Silhouettes of patrons are at the bottom of the stairs and frame.
36. Fritz Neugass, The Sun Breaks Through, ​c. 1948. Street view beneath elevated train tracks with dramatic light and shadow.
37. Benn Mitchell, Mirrors of Life, Self-Portrait, 42nd Street, ​1950. Funhouse mirror-like distortion of the photographer and three other figures in which their heads are vertically stretched.
38. Benn Mitchell, Mirrors of Life, 42nd Street, ​1949. Man's silhouette in the lower center of the frame with distorted, elongated lights behind him.
39. Benn Mitchell, Times Square 42nd Street, New York City, ​c. 1955. Lit signs reflecting on a car hood at night.
40. Benn Mitchell, Times Square, ​1950. Silhouette profile of a man with a cigarette in his mouth beneath rows of lights.
41. W. Eugene Smith, As From My Window I Sometimes Glance, ​1957–1958. Nighttime elevated view of city street. The tallest building reaches into the fog.
42. W. Eugene Smith, As From My Window I Sometimes Glance, ​1957–1958. Elevated view of a snowy fire escape. Two figures, a mailbox, and cars can be seen on the street below.
43. W. Eugene Smith, As From My Window I Sometimes Glance, ​1957–1958. A woman and four children carry a pumpkin and flowers on the sidewalk.
44. W. Eugene Smith, As From My Window I Sometimes Glance, ​1957–1958. Elevated view of a snowy street scene. A man helps a group of women from the sidewalk corner to a car. Sign on the corner of the nearest building reads "Bill's Flower Mart"
45. Esther Bubley, View of Third Avenue El looking downtown from 53rd Street. The El goes as far downtown as the Battery, ​1946. Elevated view of train tracks and three pedestrians walking on the sidewalk on the right of the frame.
46. Esther Bubley, New York Harbor: View looking East on Fulton Street from Third Avenue El platform, ​1946. Elevated view of a car-lined street ending in water and boats.
47. Esther Bubley, On South Street at noon time, ​1946. Man in the left foreground in profile eating; man in the right midground stands in an apron behind a hot dog cart.
48. Esther Bubley, Weehawken, New Jersey. View looking east from 50th Street and East Boulevard showing New York Central piers, Hudson River and Midtown Manhattan skyline, 1946.
49. Bedrich Grunzweig, Times Square at Night, New York City, ​c. 1959. Pedestrians standing on a street corner, some holding umbrellas. Nearby is a marquee that reads "On the Beach".
50. Bedrich Grunzweig, Four Santas in a New York Bus, Christmas, ​1954. Four seated men in Santa costumes in two rows of two.
51. Bedrich Grunzweig, April Shower, ​1951. Reflection of a skyscraper in a puddle on the city street.
52. Bedrich Grunzweig, NYC, ​1948. Four men photographed from above, walking on a cobbled brick surface. Their shadows are cast down and to the right of the frame.
53. Todd Webb, View South from the top of the RCA Building showing the Empire State Building, ​1947. Birds-eye view of a hazy skyline with the Empire State Building as the central silhouette.
54. Todd Webb, View East from the 24th floor of the Esso Building, ​1947. Elevated view facing cathedral spires and nearby buildings in strong sunlight.
55. Todd Webb, Corner of 6th Avenue & 47th Street, with Rockefeller Center building in the background, ​1948. Pedestrians and cars in the street in the lower fourth of the frame; buildings rise up to fill the rest of the frame.
56. Todd Webb, Shops at Sixth Avenue near Rockefeller Center, 1947. Street-level view of pedestrians outside a shop with a shoe-shaped sign that reads "Radio City Repair - Hats Renovated Factory Methods"
1B. Louise Rosskam, New York City: Trucking. Trucks under the Third Avenue elevated platform, 1945. Two trucks beneath an elevated train platform with daylight streaming down to the ground beneath.
2B. Jan Lukas, New York, 1964. Side view of a man sleeping in the front seat of a parked car.
3B. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, ​c. 1958. An old man in profile holding a cane and papers crossing the street.
4B. Jan Lukas, Flatiron Building, 1966. Frontal view of the building mostly in silhouette, with sun streaks and spots shining from behind the top left corner of the building.
5B. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, ​c. 1948. View out a shop window with a model plane hung in the foreground. Men gather on the sidewalk outside across from a cathedral.
6B. Esther Bubley, Untitled, 1946. Train tracks in the foreground. Piers extend into the a river in the midground with the city skyline in the background.
7B. Weegee, Untitled, ​c. 1945. A car in the foreground beneath a "Lincoln Tunnel Entrance" sign. Men on a ladder hang a sign that reads "Smiling Irishman" on a storefront in the background.
8B. Jan Lukas, New York City, Brooklyn Bridge, ​1964. Detail of an ornate metal beam in the foreground that aligns with the vertical towers of the Brooklyn Bridge in the background.
9B. Fritz Neugass, Reflections: Empire State in a Rain Puddle, c. 1948. Skyscraper reflection (upside-down) in a puddle on the sidewalk.
10B. Jan Lukas, Untitled, 1964. A woman in sunglasses and fur stands in the foreground at a street corner in front of a produce cart.
11B. Simpson Kalisher, Untitled, ​1949. Rear view of a tall man in overalls and a tool belt.

Press Release

In New York Stories, Keith de Lellis Gallery examines a familiar subject, New York City, through the lenses of fourteen accomplished photographers. These local artists discovered captivating scenes through their varied approaches to street photography.

 

While some scenes are instantly identifiable, others are abstracted to the point of anonymity. Some photographs find a balance between the two, such as David Attie’s distorted but still recognizable images of the Flatiron Building and Times Square. Numerous featured photographers experimented with reshaping their images through in-camera or darkroom manipulation. Benn Mitchell captioned one of his abstract Mirrors of Life photographs with “Ephemeral life streams by, reflected in the mirror’s instant: Marquee lights and buildings merge into a mellifluous background accenting the mysterious human silhouette”. A city street is transformed into a carnival through Mitchell’s funhouse mirror effect.

 

Elevated, bird’s-eye views can be found from Todd Webb, Bedrich Grunzweig, and Eugene Smith. Smith’s series, As Through My Window I Sometimes Glance provides voyeuristic glimpses of the everyday goings-on outside his loft window. Unknowing pedestrians struggle to navigate snowy sidewalks as the photographer observed and documented from above.

 

Several artists diverted their gaze from the Manhattan’s architecture and instead took a human-interest approach to the city. In Beuford Smith’s Palm Sunday, a young girl wearing a cross is seated in a crowded subway car with her eyes closed, seeming to find her own quiet moment amidst the chaos. With a snapshot aesthetic, Jeanne Ebstel captured the uninhibited joy of city children sporting swimsuits on the street, cooling off with water gushing from out of the frame. Weegee’s candid portraits shine a light, quite literally, on dark scenes featuring celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and James Dean. Conversely, Simpson Kalisher’s midday street photographs catch anonymous individuals and groups going about their daily lives.

Donald Blumberg created a series of candid portraits that remove his subjects from space and time: only their heads are visible, with the majority of the frame occupied only by darkness. Jason Farago wrote about the series for the New York Times (Sept. 3, 2015): “For his engaging series “In Front of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral,” produced between 1965 to 1967, he would tilt his camera, sometimes as much as 45 degrees off center, and employ long exposure times to black out the cathedral interior. The effect was to eliminate all context, and to turn the worshipers into highly detailed, if physically awkward, specimens in the void.”

 

In total, this exhibition features works by David Attie, Anthony Barboza, Donald Blumberg, Esther Bubley, Jeanne Ebstel, Bedrich Grunzweig, Simpson Kalisher, Jan Lukas, Benn Mitchell, Fritz Neugass, Beuford Smith, W. Eugene Smith, Todd Webb, and Weegee.

 

New York Stories will be on view at the Keith de Lellis Gallery through March 27, 2020.