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Gelatin silver print
Overall: 49.4 x 37.2 cm (19 7/16 x 14 5/8 in.); Matted: 76.2 x 61 cm (30 x 24 in.)
Gift of Huntington Bank 2003.361
© Estate of Margaret Bourke-White / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Bourke-White established her reputation during the late 1920s by photographing industrial subjects in Cleveland. She was especially attracted to the city’s most distinctive landmark, the Terminal Tower (completed in 1927), at that time the second tallest building in America. She documented the tower from numerous vantage points, at different times of day, and under various atmospheric conditions. This photograph shows the tower at the apex of a visual pyramid, as if ascending from a smoky pit, flanked by the “High Level” or Detroit-Superior Bridge and smokestacks in the Flats. This gift to the Cleveland Museum of Art is probably the largest known print of Bourke-White’s most popular image of this landmark. The tower seems to symbolize Cleveland’s industrial power and meteoric rise from a small settlement on the banks of the Cuyahoga River to one of the most modern, progressive cities in America.
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