Aug 21, 2007

Tug and New York Skyline

Tug and New York Skyline


Ralph Steiner

(American, 1899–1986)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 4.8 x 9.8 cm (1 7/8 x 3 7/8 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1985.46



Cleveland-born Ralph Steiner began photographing in his teens, and for many years alternated between his personal photographic work and earning a living doing mostly advertising photography. His work from the 1920s and 1930s, like that of Paul Strand and Walker Evans in that period, used the commonplace objects of urban society—billboards, details of automobiles, and skyscrapers—in semiabstract compositions. This picturesque vista of the New York skyline is an early work, taken while Steiner was a student at the Clarence H. White School of Photography in New York. The beautifully atmospheric composition is distinguished by its bold, graphic quality with the tugboat's smoke adding energy and movement.

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