New York

Berenice Abbott

Marlborough | Midtown

Berenice Abbott was originally known in the ’20s for her unadorned portraits of such famous people as James Joyce, Djuna Barnes and Marcel Duchamp. They were shorn of fantasy embellishments or formality, qualities thought to be necessary accoutrements of portrait photography at the time. One feels Abbott was completely comfortable with her sitters; occasionally, though, she allowed people to present themselves as dramatic personages. Accessories or props, like the attributes of saints in medieval art, were sometimes used successfully. In an attempt to show his inner, turbulent nature, Max Ernst is depicted as almost fusing with an elaborate high-backed chair in which he is seated. The wild points of his hair echo the carving of the chair. In a series of photographs also included in the exhibition, Cocteau is shown as a fey poseur with several mannequins. These theatrical props seem in

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