1922, printed 1980
Gelatin silver print
Image: 9.5 x 12.1 cm (3 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.); Paper: 10.1 x 12.6 cm (4 x 4 15/16 in.); Matted: 30.6 x 35.6 cm (12 1/16 x 14 in.)
John L. Severance Fund 1991.242
© Estate of Ralph Steiner
Born and raised in Cleveland to a working-class family, Ralph Steiner earned a degree in chemical engineering from Dartmouth College but, after graduation, opted to become a freelance photographer in New York City. In the early 1920s, the boom period in America for the incorporation of photography in print advertising, Steiner’s major source of income was producing ad layouts for magazines. Those jobs supported his personal artwork, which included photographing the urban environment. His cityscapes often featured signage, which dominated commercial districts throughout the city and mirrored the rise of consumerism in the prosperous 1920s.
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