LEWIS W. HINE (1874-1940)
Property from the Estate of a Private Collector, New York
LEWIS W. HINE (1874-1940)

New York City from the Empire State Building, 1931

LEWIS W. HINE (1874-1940)
New York City from the Empire State Building, 1931
gelatin silver print, mounted on board
signed in white ink (recto); credited on affixed artist's 'Interpretive Photography' label, and typed caption on affixed label (mount, verso)
image/sheet: 19 1/4 x 15 1/2 in. (48.9 x 39.4 cm.)
mount: 21 x 17 1/2 in. (53.3 x 44.4 cm.)
Private collection, Chicago;
Sotheby's, New York, October 31, 1989, lot 161;
acquired from the above by a private collector;
Christie's, New York, October 6, 1998, lot 4;
acquired from the above sale by the present owner.
Judith Mara Gutman, Lewis W. Hine, and the American Social Conscience, Walker, New York, 1967, p. 144.
Lewis W. Hine, Lewis W. Hine: The Empire State Building, Prestel, Munich, 1998, p. 79.

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Shlomi Rabi
Shlomi Rabi

Lot Essay

'Cities do not build themselves, machines cannot make machines, unless back of them all are the brains and toil of men. We call this the Machine Age. But the more machines we use the more do we need real men to make and direct them.' —Lewis Hine

Lewis Wickes Hine intensely followed and intimately photographed the construction of the Empire State Building, the tallest building in the world, for six months during 1930 and 1931. In many respects, the stateliness of the edifice and the design of its façade was lost on Hine; his interest was almost exclusively reserved for the men engaged in erecting the skyscraper, and the methods they employed.

This view of lower Manhattan in the background, with the Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park at the bottom of the picture, is nausea-inducing for most. For Hine, the experience of this project was life-changing. 'I have always avoided dare-devil exploits and do not consider these experiences as going quite that far—but they have given me a new zest, and perhaps a different note in my interpretation of Industry.'

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