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New York, New York, United States
San Francisco, California, United States
Personal life & education
William Abbenseth was born in New York New York in 1898. Abbenseth describes his photography education as informal taking occasional classes at Berkeley University and learned techniques from his colleagues. He died in San Francisco California in 1972.
Works Project Administration work
Encouraged by Joe Danysh Abbenseth became involved in the Federal Art Project in the mid-1930s. He began by photographing San Francisco architecture, paintings, and sculptures before being made supervisor of the photographic department, which paid him ten more dollars a month than his previous position, totaling approximately $94 a month in income. He primarily photographed San Francisco homes and a selection were published in books and newspapers, exhibited at then San Francisco Museum of Art, and used in a photo mural co-designed by Abbenseth and Ben Cunningham for the San Francisco City Hall. Abbenseth also worked for the Index of American Design, documenting the architecture of and artwork within Spanish missions. He had an interest in film, and began to film his activities related to the Federal Art Project, documenting work by Sargent Johnson at Aquatic Park and the art of making stained glass, which was funded by the University of California. He also created a documentary about the San Francisco Housing Authority. During his involvement in the FAP he photographed artists such as Benny Bufano and Reuben Kadish. Abbenseth credited his work with the Federal Art Project as being an educational, which allowed him to work with and learn from the photographers of Group f/64 and filmmaker Ralph Steiner.
- Ball State University, Muncie, Indiana
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California
- Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- SFMOMA, San Francisco, California
- Mary Fuller McChesney (1964). "Oral history interview with William Abbenseth, 1964 Nov. 23". New Deal and the Arts project. Archives of American Art. Retrieved 14 Jun 2011.
- "William Abbenseth". Digital Media Repository. Ball State University. 2009. Retrieved 13 Jun 2011.
- "William H. Abbenseth". Collections. Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2011. Retrieved 13 Jun 2011.
- "Photograph Collections in Rare Books & Manuscripts". RBMS Collection. University Libraries. 2011. Retrieved 13 Jun 2011.
- "Works by William H. Abbenseth". Collection. SFMOMA. 2011. Retrieved 13 Jun 2011.
- Oral history interview with William Abbenseth, 1964 Nov. 23 in the collection of the Archives of American Art