By John Szarkowski, Maria Morris Hambourg

This beautifully reproduced quantity offers the essence of the paintings of the nice French photographer, Eugène Atget, in a single hundred rigorously chosen images. John Szarkowski, an said grasp of the paintings of images, explores during this ebook the original sensibilities that made Atget one of many maximum artists of the 20th century and an important impact at the improvement of recent and modern images. Szarkowski's eloquent introductory textual content and commentaries shape a longer essay at the striking visible intelligence displayed in those refined, occasionally enigmatic pictures.

Atget used to be a advertisement photographer who committed extra then thirty years of his existence to the duty of documenting town of Paris, its environs, and the French geographical region in additional than 8 thousand pictures. within the strategy, he created an oeuvre that brilliantly explains the good richness, complexity, and real personality of his local tradition. His uncompromising eye recorded the picturesque villages and panorama of France; the storied chateaux and the romantic parks and gardens of the ancien régime of Louis XIV; and, in Paris, architectural information, deepest courtyards, old fashioned store home windows, curious constructions and streets, and numerous denizens of the city scene of his instances. Atget died nearly unknown in 1927, even supposing teams of his prints have been integrated in quite a few Paris data. In 1925 the younger American artist Berenice Abbott had found his paintings, and after his demise she prepared to shop for his records with assistance from artwork broker Julien Levy; in 1968 that assortment used to be bought through the Museum of recent artwork.

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So this photo used to be made close to the start of his final complete 12 months of labor. the image is in feeling very similar to plate , made 20 years previous at Versailles, other than that the later photo is extra adventurous in its layout, with its “important” components all piled within the heart, and it doesn't declare an art-historical functionality. within the previous photograph the statue of Pan, or maybe Silenus, might be a regimen nineteenth-century replica of a regimen sixteenth-century college derived from Roman components; however, it truly is taken care of because the significant component of the plot. in contrast, within the photograph at Saint-Cloud the vases are less vital than the tree, and even perhaps less significant than the bicycle. at once at the back of the bicycle is a guy who appears to be like donning this kind of army cap—like an envelope slit open on one lengthy side—that the americans known as an in a foreign country cap. The picture supplies us no trace as to why he will be sitting on a bench within the parc de Saint-Cloud at 9 o’clock on a March morning, together with his bicycle propped opposed to the pedestal of a minor artwork. it's been mentioned that in the 1st thirty years of his lifestyles as a photographer Atget nearly by no means dated his photos; starting within the nineteen twenties he dated them now not constantly yet usually; usually he additionally gave the month and occasionally, as the following, even the hour. it isn't in any respect transparent why he did this; absolutely it used to be no longer for the benefit of destiny curators and historians, even if we're still thankful. virtually as definitely, it used to be to not fulfill the archivists of libraries; we'd wager that, had that they had their means, all photos may were made at midday on overcast days, to cast off as approximately as attainable the eccentricity of specific moments. And, if Atget was once nonetheless promoting prints to painters, they have been definitely in a position to identifying for themselves even if it was once 9 within the morning or 5 within the afternoon, in March or October. . aint-loud, mars ,  h. matin   I t turns out most likely that Atget famous the hour at which he made an image for his personal sake—as a question of knowledge that would be important to him in making plans destiny journeys. nonetheless, photographers usually checklist that kind of useful info in a pc, or at the adverse envelope, instead of comprise it as a part of the caption. On no less than one get together, Atget additionally recorded, as a part of his caption, his publicity time: Saint-Cloud,  s. vers  h. matin, mars . probably this notation used to be made to checklist an scan: a two-and-a-half minute publicity turns out large, even on a grey March morning. Atget photographed an analogous pond visible the following 4 years prior, from some extent of view approximately forty-five levels to the left of his place the following. it really is a superb photograph, yet extra literal, much less luminous; during this moment test he has uncovered his plate extra seriously, permitting the hazy morning gentle to insinuate itself into each shadow. without doubt it'd be improper to indicate that Atget—sober as a milkmaid for sixty years— grew to become a fantasist within the nineteen twenties.

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