[S.S. Normandie docked at Pier 88 on the Hudson River, with the Waldorf Astoria, General Electric Building, and skyscrapers of Rockefeller Center in the background, New York City, 1940].
The collection consists of ca. 775 gelatin silver photographs, depicting New York City ca. 1939-1954, and in the 1970s and 1980s. The photographs range in size from 5 x 7 inches to 13 1/4 x 22 inches. A series of photographs focusing on 1940s New York contains photographs from Feininger's book New York in the Forties (1978) depicting Times Square, Fifth Avenue, elevated railroads, the Brooklyn Bridge, the waterfront and river traffic, shops and shop owners in a variety of neighborhoods, including Chinatown and the Jewish Lower East Side, and a variety of street, park and skyline views. Also included are snow views and photographs of the city during the World War II dimout. A series of photographs for Feininger's book The face of New York: the city as is was and as it is (1954) contains Feininger's copy photographs of historical prints, maps, and photography by earlier New York photographers. A third series of photographs of New York during the 1970s and 1980s contains views of New York graffiti, signs, murals, posters, billboards, reflections, water tanks, fire escapes, and especially the Times Square area with its characteristic erotic film venues and advertisements for shops and strip bars.
Andreas Feininger (1906-1999) was born in Paris, son of Lyonel Feininger; lived in Germany and Sweden, moved to the United States in 1939, where he worked as a staff photographer for Life magazine between 1943 and 1962.
New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024, 212-873-3400.