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  • Provenance

    The Museum of Modern Art, New York

  • Catalogue Essay

    Eugène Atget has been described as a private and almost reclusive man. Above his studio door read the sign, ‘Documents pour artistes’, an indication of his humble character, considering his own works as mere reference points from which ‘art’ could be created; of course he could not envisage the historical importance that his works would have years later. With his large format camera, an out-dated cumbersome apparatus, using its magical Cyclops-like eye as an extension of his own self, he created an exquisite visual survey of old Paris. When one looks at an Atget photograph, it’s as though he studied and felt every uneven cobble of the dirty urban street or the single gossamer petal of a rose in a stately garden. Before his ‘reports’ were moulded in the creamy albumen emulsion he waited patiently in the early hours knowing that a long exposure would conjure the most sensitive image. Ironically what Atget achieved through his meticulous desire to document the city he loved was proof that photography could transcend its purpose as a tool for mechanical recording and create an image which could be considered as fine art.



Albumen print.
19.3 × 24.5 cm (7 5/8 × 9 5/8 in)
Titled, annotated "792" by the photographer, "MOMA DUPE SHM 2002" in an unidentified hand, all in pencil and credit stamp on the verso.

£7,000 - 9,000 


8 November 2012