Atget (The Museum of Modern Art)

ISBN: 9780935112566
Artist(s): Eugene Atget
Author(s): John Szarkowski
Format: hardback
Year published: 2000
Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art
Publisher Location: New York
Total Pages: 224
Illustrations: Illustrated in black and white throughout


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This superbly reproduced volume presents the essence of the work of the great French photographer, Eugène Atget, in one hundred carefully selected photographs. John Szarkowski, an acknowledged master of the art of looking at photographs, explores in this book the unique sensibilities that made Atget one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century and a vital influence on the development of modern and contemporary photography. Szarkowski’s eloquent introductory text and commentaries form an extended essay on the remarkable visual intelligence displayed in these subtle, sometimes enigmatic pictures. Atget was a commercial photographer who devoted more then thirty years of his life to the task of documenting the city of Paris, its environs, and the French countryside in more than eight thousand photographs. In the process, he created an oeuvre that brilliantly explains the great richness, complexity, and authentic character of his native culture. His uncompromising eye recorded the picturesque villages and landscape of France; the storied chateaux and the romantic parks and gardens of the ancien régime of Louis XIV; and, in Paris, architectural details, private courtyards, quaint shop windows, curious buildings and streets, and various denizens of the urban scene of his times. Atget died almost unknown in 1927, although groups of his prints were included in various Paris archives. In 1925 the young American artist Berenice Abbott had discovered his work, and after his death she arranged to buy his archives with the help of art dealer Julien Levy; in 1968 that collection was purchased by the Museum of Modern Art.


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