Front / Recto

  • Title Brooklyn Bridge in Rainy Weather
  • Negative Date 1927
  • Print Date 1927–55
  • Medium Gelatin silver print
  • Dimensions Image 9 1/2 × 7 11/16" (24.2 × 19.5 cm)
    Sheet 9 11/16 × 7 13/16" (24.6 × 19.8 cm)
  • Place Taken New York
  • Credit Line Thomas Walther Collection. Gift of Thomas Walther
  • MoMA Accession Number 1700.2001
  • Copyright © Hirz/Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images
  • Description

    This photograph appears to depict the Brooklyn Bridge reflected onto its own deck, as if on a rainy day. The work, along with three other uncredited views of monumental architecture in New York City, was reproduced in the French journal Vu in March 1928, captioned “Reflecto.” The top two-thirds of the image, with the small figures, comes from one negative, photographed on a dry day. A number of factors indicate manipulation in the darkroom, possibly with a second negative, as the image is not symmetrical. The continuous deck image is visible in the background over the central area of reflected suspension cables; the shadow position and the proportion of the bridge tower and suspension cables are identical in the bottom and the top of the picture, but there are no reflections of the figures or the bright square at center. Retouching is visible in the bottom half of the image but it is not present on the paper itself, suggesting that this is a Copy Print. Fiber analysis indicates that the photographic paper was made between 1927 and 1940; unlike the typical press photograph support, it is a heavy single-weight paper, not highly glossy. Stamps on the verso belong to two New York photo agencies—Frederic Lewis and Advertisers Photo Bureau—and to J. Jay Hirz’s studio.

    —Hanako Murata

Back / Verso

  • Mount Type No mount
  • Marks and Inscriptions Stamped in red ink on sheet verso, top center: ADVERTISERS PHOTO BUREAU/232 EAST 42nd STREET-NEW YORK/PHONE MURRAY HILL 2-4739. Stamped in black ink on sheet verso, top center: PHOTO BY/HIRZ. Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, center: X-27 [oriented upside down with respect to image]. Stamped in blue ink on sheet verso, right: FROM/FREDERIC LEWIS/4 [illegible]/New York City/36 WEST 44th ST/NEW YORK 18, N.Y. Stamped in black ink on sheet verso, center: HIRZ GRAF STUDIOS [GRAF is crossed out, stamp is oriented upside down with respect to image]. Stamped in red ink on sheet verso, bottom center: PLEASE CREDIT/J. JAY HIRZ. Inscribed in pencil on sheet verso, bottom right: TW 870502.
  • Provenance The artist, New York. Frederick Lewis Stock Photos, after 1938 [1]; to Tom Jacobson, San Diego, c. 1979 [2]; sold through Sotheby's New York (sale 5043, lot 89) to Thomas Walther, May 6, 1987 [3]; given to The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2001.
    [1] Tom Jacobson, letter to Simon Bieling, June 2005. Frederick Lewis Stock Photos was established in 1938.
    [2] Ibid.
    [3] MacGill/Walther 2001(4), p. 5; Thomas Walther archival no. TW 870502 on sheet verso; and Sotheby's invoice no. 5571 103, May 6, 1987.


  • Surface Sheen Semireflective
  • Techniques Enlargement
    Retouching in negative
    Double exposure
  • PTM
    Detail view of the recto of the artwork made using reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) software, which exaggerates subtle surface details and renders the features of the artwork plainly visible. Department of Conservation, MoMA
  • Micro-raking
    Raking-light close-up image, as shot. Area of detail is 6.7 x 6.7 mm. Department of Conservation, MoMA
    Raking-light close-up image, processed. Processing included removal of color, equalization of the histogram, and sharpening, all designed to enhance visual comparison. Department of Conservation, MoMA

Paper Material

  • Format Imperial
  • Weight Single weight
  • Thickness (mm) 0.19
  • UV Fluorescence Recto negative
    Verso negative
  • Fiber Analysis Softwood bleached sulfite 97%
    Rag 3%
  • Material Techniques Developing-out paper
  • XRF

    This work was determined to be a gelatin silver print via X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry.

    The following elements have been positively identified in the work, through XRF readings taken from its recto and verso (or from the mount, where the verso was not accessible):

    • Recto: Al, P, S, Zn, Sr, Ag, Ba
    • Verso: Al, S, Zn, Sr, Ba, Pb

    The graphs below show XRF spectra for three areas on the print: two of the recto—from areas of maximum and minimum image density (Dmax and Dmin)—and one of the verso or mount. The background spectrum represents the contribution of the XRF instrument itself. The first graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the lower energy range (0 to 8 keV). The second graph shows elements identified through the presence of their characteristic peaks in the higher energy range (8 to 40 keV).

    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Al, P, S, Ag, Ba
    Areas examined: Recto (Dmax: black; Dmin: green), Verso or Mount (blue), Background (red)
    Elements identified: Zn, Sr, Ag

In Context

Related Images

J. Jay Hirz. New York Bound. January 1, 1935. © Hirz/Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Spread from Franz Roh and Jan Tschichold. Foto-Auge: 76 Fotos der Zeit (Photo-Eye: 76 photos of the time). Stuttgart: F. Wedekind, 1929. Left: J. Jay Hirz. Brooklyn Bridge in Rainy Weather. Right: Piet Zwart. Prospectus (Photomontage, Original in Blue, Red, and Black)

Historical Publications

  • “Reflets photographiques.” Vu 1, no. 2 (March 1928): 49 (as untitled photograph).

    Roh, Franz, and Jan Tschichold. Foto-Auge: 76 Fotos der Zeit, pl. 36 (as Brooklynbrücke bei Regenwetter—Le pont de Brooklyn par temps de pluie—Brooklyn Bridge in Rainy Weather). Stuttgart: Akademischer Verlag Dr. Fritz Wedekind & Co., 1929.

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