Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York

Accession Number

Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street, New York

Paul Strand

Artist Nationality
American (North American)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
photogravure on paper

11 in x 7 7/8 in (28 cm x 20 cm);11 1/16 in x 7 15/16 in (28.1 cm x 20.1 cm);12 in x 9 1/2 in (30.5 cm x 24.2 cm);5 in x 6 9/16 in (12.7 cm x 16.7 cm);57 in x 14 7/16 in (144.78 cm x 36.67 cm)

Credit Line
Museum purchase made possible by the Jean Paul Slusser Memorial Fund

Label copy
Paul Strand was born in New York and chronicled the City's transitions in the early years of the twentieth century. After study at the Ethical Culture School in New York, he joined Camera Work in 1908. His early work in the pictorialist vein—employing the soft-focus lens and poetic portrayals of his native city—soon took on a more modern look. Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street shows the bustle of the crowd and jostling of automobiles and horse-drawn carriages, much like the stereoscope image of The Crazy Crowd, dating from the 1880s. The modernity of his view of this busy intersection reflects his increasing interest in unmanipulated, clean compositions of the City, which became known as "straight photography."
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)

Subject matter
This photograph depicts an elevated view from above a street filled with people, cars, and horse-drawn carriages. Groups of people, cast shadows, and empty spaces of concrete exhibit Strand's interest in form and composition. The movement of the city becomes the subject of the photograph, in addition to the rich display of forms and tonal ranges. This photograph was published in 1916's Camera Work, issue no. 48 as a photogravure. 

Physical Description
Photograph of a crowded Fifth Avenue in 1915, New York. People, cars, and horse-drawn carriages bustle through the street.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area

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Urban life
city blocks
cityscapes (representations)
horse-drawn vehicles
modern and contemporary art

12 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Cars and Car Culture
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
New York City
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Technology and Modernity in Photography 1900-1948
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
The City in Photography 1900-1948
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
The Modern Metropolis
(Part of 7 Learning Collections)
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
The Crowd
(Part of 8 Learning Collections)
Jewish Photographers 
(Part of: Ethnicity and Race)

& Author Notes

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