In the 1930s, Aaron Siskind explored a variety of social issues in documentary-style images and created the series Harlem Document (selections from which are represented in the Brooklyn Museum’s collection). His work became abstract and metaphoric in the early 1940s, and he cultivated friendships with such Abstract Expressionist painters as Franz Kline, Barnett Newman, Adolph Gottlieb, and Mark Rothko. Siskind’s photographs of graffiti, peeling plaster, sections of signs, road surfaces, and found objects marked a decisive shift in his work; exploring the properties of the medium, he flattened the picture plane, paid close attention to tonal gradation, and often drastically cropped the image.
Gloucester 16A was made during a prolific period in Gloucester, Massachusetts, during the summers of 1944 and 1945. In many photographs from the Gloucester series, the shapes are unrecognizable and the shallow space is extremely compressed. This image elevates a simple section of wall into a totemic figure. Like a strange, rural Rorschach blot, the circular opening, a black void, suggests both an eye and a peephole.
Gelatin silver print
Image: 18 x 13 in. (47 x 33.0 cm)
Sheet: 19 7/8 x 15 7/8 in. (50.3 x 40.4) (show scale)
Gift of Robert L. Smith and Patricia L. Sawyer
This item is not on view
Aaron Siskind (American, 1903-1991). Gloucester 16A, 1944. Gelatin silver print, Image: 18 x 13 in. (47 x 33.0 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Robert L. Smith and Patricia L. Sawyer, 1999.127.9. © artist or artist's estate (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1999.127.9_transp4837.jpg)
overall, 1999.127.9_transp4837.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
© Aaron Siskind Foundation
Copyright for this work may be controlled by the artist, the artist's estate, or other rights holders. A more detailed analysis of its rights history may, however, place it in the public domain.
The Museum does not warrant that the use of this work will not infringe on the rights of third parties. It is your responsibility to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions before copying, transmitting, or making other use of protected items beyond that allowed by "fair use," as such term is understood under the United States Copyright Act.
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
If you wish to contact the rights holder for this work, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
and we will assist if we can.
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.