Alice Stanley Acheson, a painter and the widow of Dean Acheson, President Harry S. Truman's Secretary of State, died on Saturday [1/20/96] at her home in Washington. She was 100. Mrs. Acheson was born in Charlevoix, Mich. She graduated from Wellesley College in May 1917 and married Mr. Acheson the same month. He died in October 1971 at the age of 78. Mrs. Acheson represented the third generation of artists in her family. Paintings of the American West by her grandfather, John Mix Stanley, are in the collection of the National Museum of American Art in Washington. Her mother, Jane Stanley, was a watercolor artist; Mrs. Acheson wrote a book about her life. Alice Acheson's own work is included in the Phillips Collection and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. Mrs. Acheson is survived by a brother, George M. Stanley of Santa Cruz, Calif.; three children, Jane A. Brown of Boynton Beach, Fla., David C. Acheson of Washington and Mary A. Bundy of Princeton, N.J.; six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren. New York Times Obituary, Jan. 22, 1996
Even though smaller, more portable cameras had recently been introduced on the market, Abbott preferred the large-format view camera because of the detail afforded by such a large negative. Photographing the City for Changing New York, Abbott frequently took a small hand-held camera in order to record ideas, but she always returned with the view camera to make the final shots. This image of warehouses captures the crisp and exacting detail that Abbott sought using the view camera. The light raking across the shutters animates the surface of the brick facades of the buildings, which appear severely foreshortened.
Located in Brooklyn under the Brooklyn Bridge, the Yuban coffee warehouse was close to where the Fulton Ferry crossed the East River to Manhattan. These warehouses, which date from the 1870s, were added to the Registry of Historic Places in 1974 and became a state park in 1978.
Carole McNamara, Assistant Director for Collections & Exhibitions
on the occasion of the exhibition New York Observed: The Mythology of the City
(July 13 – September 22, 2003)
Berenice Abbott was an artist, writer, inventor, and teacher whose work changed the course of modern American photography. Abbott had been deeply influenced by the quiet intensity in the work of turn-of-the century French commercial and documentary photographer Eugène Atget (1857–1927). Atget’s studies of the empty streets and misty parks of Paris fired Abbott’s imagination: "The city has the romantic power of its dreadful reality," she wrote of his pictures. Abbott’s "Warehouse, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn" is a product of the style she saw exemplified in Atget’s work. While this photograph depicts one of the many warehouses used for New York City’s important shipping industry, the work also captures the formal harmony of a common utilitarian structure whose beauty might otherwise be overlooked.
(A. Dixon, 20th Century Gallery installation, June 1999)
Signed on matte, l.r.: BERENICE ABBOTT On verso, stamp, c.: PHOTOGRAPH BERENICE ABBOTT ABBOTT, MAINE 04406