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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Gilman Paper Company, New York
    Sotheby's, New York, 'Important Photographs from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, including works from the Gilman Paper Company Collection', 14 February 2006, lot 32

  • Literature

    Ducrot, J'aime Paris: Photographs Since the Twenties, p. 154
    Thames & Hudson, André Kertész: Of Paris and New York, cat. no 3, p. 129
    Yale University Press, André Kertész, p. 143
    Annely Juda Fine Art, André Kertész and Avant Garde Photography of the Twenties and Thirties, pl. 39
    Jane Corkin Gallery, Stranger to Paris: Photographs by André Kertész (1894-1985), p. 61

  • Catalogue Essay

    Following a brief military service as a photographer in his home country of Hungary, André Kertész moved to Paris in October 1925 and registered his profession as "photo reporter”. Enchanted by his new home, Kertész wandered the streets while taking pictures of the city: the Seine; the stairs of Montmartre; a jumble of chairs in the Jardin Du Luxembourg; and as seen in the current image, the swirls of wet pavement outside the hallowed cathedral of Notre Dame. What sets Kertész’s photographs apart from those of his peers working in Paris at the same time is their emotional resonance. That is, while other photographers’ depictions of Paris were concerned with capturing the familiar features of the city’s landmarks, Kertész’s depictions were subversive for his interest in the unexpected and unfamiliar views of the same locations. Through his subversive use of shadow, angle, subject, and composition, Kertész infused his subtle humanity into his photographs, which earned him acclaim during his time in France.

    The image Notre Dame at night seen in the current lot, which the artist simply titled “Paris”, was taken during the first three months of his move to Paris. The image defies the viewers’ expectations for it is not concerned with capturing the magnitude or scale of the revered cathedral. Rather, under Kertész’s lens viewers are presented with a charmingly illuminated plaza, likely after rainfall, with gleaming puddles scattered about, luring viewers to stare deeply into the image. Under Kertész, Paris had indeed become the fabled City of Light.


    It is believed that this exact print was included in Kertész’s exhibition at Au Sacre du Printemps in Paris in 1927 and may be illustrated in situ on a larger mount in Andre Kertesz: Of Paris and New York, p. 34

76

Untitled (Notre Dame at Night)

1925
Gelatin silver print.
6 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. (16.2 x 18.4 cm)
Signed and titled 'Paris' in pencil on the mount; '31 Union Sq. N.Y.C. 3' credit stamp on the reverse of the mount.

Estimate
$50,000 - 70,000 

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
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Shlomi Rabi
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Photographs

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