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This image is significant as one of the very first instances of Newton making and publishing a nude study in which the subject is truly naked, meaning that she has been stripped of all clothing, even the elegant, high-heeled shoes that are so consistent a feature in his work. The result is still unmistakably Newton's -- perhaps because the model still exudes the sophistication that is his hallmark, and perhaps because the photographer has, characteristically, placed as much importance on the setting as on the figure. Newton enjoyed situating the women that he photographed in authentic environments, in their natural habitats so to speak. Here, model Patti Hansen (who subsequently married Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards) looks down through the glass curtain wall of a high tower apartment onto the twinkling lights of Manhattan.
Newton knew well the full history of photography and enjoyed making teasing references to iconic images. It is hard to resist the suggestion that the photographer has made a knowing wink at Berenice Abbott's famous study of New York by night (a print of which is included in the sale as lot 42).