John Steinbeck’s house on the upper East Side of New York was sparsely decorated—Josef Breitenbach remembers only a painting of the writer’s wife and child—when the photographer visited him there in the early forties. He remembers being welcomed cordially, but with an apology from Steinbeck that he must finish doing his laundry before the session might begin. Breitenbach, newly arrived in the U.S., had never before seen a washing machine, so Steinbeck invited him to the laundry room to see how such a thing worked. Steinbeck was followed everywhere by a pet that Breitenbach found appropriate to the writer’s simple and friendly presence: a large, scruffy sheepdog.
From the portfolio “Ten Portraits.”

John Steinbeck’s house on the upper East Side of New York was sparsely decorated—Josef Breitenbach remembers only a painting of the writer’s wife and child—when the photographer visited him there in the early forties. He remembers being welcomed cordially, but with an apology from Steinbeck that he must finish doing his laundry before the session might begin. Breitenbach, newly arrived in the U.S., had never before seen a washing machine, so Steinbeck invited him to the laundry room to see how such a thing worked. Steinbeck was followed everywhere by a pet that Breitenbach found appropriate to the writer’s simple and friendly presence: a large, scruffy sheepdog.

From the portfolio “Ten Portraits.”

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