Aug 21, 2007

Barn Abstraction

Barn Abstraction

c. 1939

Ralston Crawford

(American, 1906-1978)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 12.5 x 22.4 cm (4 15/16 x 8 13/16 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

Jo Hershey Selden Fund 1997.241



Both of these images explore the relationship between the three- and two-dimensional worlds and, while remaining representational, emphasize each building’s abstract qualities. Best known as a painter, but also a draftsman, printmaker, filmmaker, and photographer. Crawford focused on the rural architecture of Pennsylvania and Delaware in the mid-1930s. The 18th-century adobe church of San Francisco de Assisi in Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, was an icon of pure form for modernist artists from Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams to Paul Strand, who spent summers in Taos from 1930 to 1932. Ansel Adams also chose this view of the back with its sculptural buttresses, stating that “it is the rear elevation that defines this building as one of the great architectural monuments of America.”

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