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Eugène Atget: Photographing Paris, 1898–1925

Organized by Emma Powell

May 28, 2021 - September 4, 2021

We’re Open! Reservations to visit the galleries are required at this time 

Eugène Atget Men's Fashion photographIn 1925, while working in Paris as an art studio assistant, American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898–1991) befriended the French photographer Eugène Atget (1857–1927). After Atget passed away two years later, Abbott secured a selection of his glass negatives. She returned to New York City and began a quest to establish Atget’s artistic legacy.

During his career Atget methodically photographed the vestiges of old Paris as the city was swiftly being modernized. Atget had a business selling his photographs as “documents for artists.” His prints were used as reference materials by artists and designers responding to a public nostalgia for the style of the previous era. He captured a broad range of subject matter, from street scenes and architectural interiors to portraits, providing insight into many aspects of daily life.

The prints in this exhibition are a selection from 20 Photographs by Eugène Atget, 1856–1927. In 1956 Abbott published this bound portfolio of gold-toned gelatin silver photographs, which she contact-printed from Atget’s glass dry-plate negatives. Abbott’s selection and printing choices, such as retouching and cropping, emphasize the modern artistic approach she saw in Atget’s photography. Abbott went on to have a successful artistic career and is known for her documentary photographs of New York City.

Top image: Eclipse, Eugène Atget, 1912, printed by Berenice Abbott, 1956. Gelatin silver print. Collection of the Fine Arts Center Library.
Right image: Men’s Fashion, Eugène Atget, 1925, printed by Berenice Abbott, 1956. Gelatin silver print. Collection of the Fine Arts Center Library.



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