The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940

Overview

During the late 1920s and 1930s, as photography was establishing a firmer monopoly on the visual documentation of the built landscape, architectural photographer Samuel H. Gottscho created a now-classic portrait of New York City as the quintessential modern metropolis. Silhouetting Manhattan's new skyscrapers, celebrated buildings—such as theAmerican Radiator Building and Rockefeller Center—and signature skyline with a vision uniquely his own, Gottscho carefully embraced the tenuous line between the documentary ...

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Overview

During the late 1920s and 1930s, as photography was establishing a firmer monopoly on the visual documentation of the built landscape, architectural photographer Samuel H. Gottscho created a now-classic portrait of New York City as the quintessential modern metropolis. Silhouetting Manhattan's new skyscrapers, celebrated buildings—such as theAmerican Radiator Building and Rockefeller Center—and signature skyline with a vision uniquely his own, Gottscho carefully embraced the tenuous line between the documentary and the artistic in photography and shaped a New York City through his lens that was distinctly Gottscho, yet unquestionably New York City.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Showcasing the superb work of architectural photographer Samuel H. Gottscho, this spectacular book captures a somewhat idealized version of New York City in the pivotal years from the mid-1920s until World War II. The 175 sumptuous black-and-white photographs are drawn from the collections of the Museum of the City of New York, which hosted a major exhibition of the same name last fall. Although the emphasis is on architecture-grand bridges, towering skyscrapers, breathtaking panoramas-the book also offers glimpses of Manhattan night views and the interior rooms of penthouses. In his introduction, historian and curator Albrecht (decorative arts, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York) provides a thoroughly researched and clearly written biography of Gottscho. He then groups the artist's photographs, each accompanied by a helpful caption, into "chapters" of plates, e.g., "Bridging the City," "City of Business," and "City of Living." The photographs are beautiful and technically perfect, rivaled only by the book itself, which is exquisitely designed and produced. Clearly one of the best photography books of the year, Mythic City is both a visual delight and a fascinating history. Highly recommended for all libraries, especially where there is interest in fine photography, architecture, American history, and the cultural life of New York.-Raymond Bial, First Light Photography, Urbana, IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
Before there were Trump towers dotting every other corner, New York was full of architectural marvels. This is apparent in "Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925—1940," on view at the Museum of the City of New York from Nov. 1, 2005, through Feb. 20, 2006. Gottscho offers a glimpse of lost treasures, from the Art Deco Rex Cole showroom in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to the swanky interiors of William Paley's Beekman Place town house. Documenting the city"s rapidly changing landscape, Gottscho created dreamlike images with an artist's eye. "It is ironic, because he was photographing during the height of the Depression," says Donald Albrecht, the curator of the exhibit and the author of the accompanying book from Princeton Architectural Press. But his vision, Albrecht says, "is optimistic and heroic." -T Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616890155
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
  • Publication date: 4/20/2011
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,388,088
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald Albrecht is an adjunct curator of architecture and design at the Museum of the City of New York. He also serves as adjunct professor for the Masters Program in the Decorative Arts at the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in New York.
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