Jul 30, 2013
Jul 30, 2013

New York at Night

New York at Night


Ilse Bing

(American, 1899–1998)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 18.9 x 28.3 cm (7 7/16 x 11 1/8 in.); Mounted: 35.7 x 41.8 cm (14 1/16 x 16 7/16 in.); Paper: 18.9 x 28.3 cm (7 7/16 x 11 1/8 in.); Matted: 40.6 x 50.8 cm (16 x 20 in.)

Gift of George Stephanopoulos 2012.393



In 1936 one of Ilse Bing’s patrons arranged for her to spend almost two months in New York City. In this daytime view of Manhattan’s skyscrapers shot from an elevated train platform, a self-portrait is hidden in the glass cover of the coin-operated scale. Bing also photographed the skyline by night, declaring the city’s lighting “phosphorescent.” The scale of the metropolis made her feel, she recalled, like “an atom wandering in the universe.” Bing and her work were enthusiastically received there. She had a solo exhibition of her photographs and met with magazine officials at Fortune, Time, and Life, which was then still in the conceptual stages. Despite possible employment, she returned to Paris to be with her fiancé, pianist and musicologist Konrad Wolff.

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