Museum Exhibition Catalogues, Monographs, Artist's Projects, Curatorial Writings and Essays
With the marvelous lens of dream and surprise, Atget “saw” (that is to say, photographed) practically everything about him, in and outside of Paris, with the vision of a poet. Berenice Abbott
Eugène Atget was born near Bordeaux, in France, in 1857, and was raised by an uncle from an early age after the deaths of his parents. He became a cabin boy and sailor, and traveled widely until 1879, when he entered the National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris. He studied there for two years and worked as a minor actor for the next few years, during which period he devloped a relationship with the actress Valentine Delafosse, who later became his photographic assistant, and with whom he lived for the rest of his life. Unsuccessful as an actor and later as a painter, he finally picked up photography in 1898, at age 40. Over the next 30 years, using obsolete equipment (an 18 x 24 cm bellows camera, rectilinear lenses, a wooden tripod, and a few plate holders), he made over 10,000 photographs of the daily appearance of a rapidly changing Paris. Most of these were sold as documents to libraries and museums, as well as to artists, stage designers, and interior decorators. Perhaps it was not until 1926, when Man Ray published a few of Atget's photographs in the magazine La revolution surrealiste, that his work began to be appreciated as art. Atget died one year later, but the appreciation of his work has only grown exponentially since.
Published by The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Text by John Szarkowski.
Eugène Atget (1857–1927) devoted more than 30 years of his life to a rigorous documentation of Paris, its environs and the French countryside, through more than 8,000 photographs. In the process, he created an oeuvre that brilliantly delineates the richness, complexity and character of his native culture. Atget’s 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 post-Haussmann Paris, architectural details, private courtyards, shop windows, curious buildings and streets, and the city’s various denizens. Atget died almost unknown in 1927, although groups of his prints were included in various Paris archives. In 1925 Berenice Abbott 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. Originally published in 2000 and long unavailable, this classic, superbly produced volume surveys the collection through 100 carefully selected photographs. John Szarkowski, head of MoMA’s Department of Photography from 1962 to 1991, explores 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. An introductory text and commentaries on Atget’s photographs form an extended essay on the remarkable visual intelligence displayed in these subtle, sometimes enigmatic photographs.
Published by Errata Editions. Text by David Campany, Pierre Mac Orlan, Jeffrey Ladd.
Errata Editions' Books on Books series is an ongoing publishing project dedicated to making rare and out-of-print photography books accessible to students and photobook enthusiasts. These are not reprints or facsimiles but complete studies of the original books. Each volume in the series presents the entire content, page for page, of an original master bookwork which, up until now, has been too rare or expensive for most to experience. Through a mix of classic and contemporary titles, this series spans the breadth of photographic practice as it has appeared on the printed page and allows further study of the creation and meanings of these great works of art. Each volume in the series contains illustrations of every page in the original photobook, a new essay by an established writer on photography, production notes about the creation of the original edition and biographical and bibliographical information about each artist. Atget: Photographe de Paris is the perfect starting point for this invaluable new series on great photography books. Published in 1930, three years after Atget's death, it is now regarded as a classic that has influenced many generations of artists, including Berenice Abbott and Walker Evans. Books on Books 1 reproduces all 96 collotype plates from the original, as well as a translation of the original Pierre Mac Orlan text on Eugene Atget's remarkable documentation of Paris at the turn of the nineteenth century. Noted author and lecturer David Campany contributes a contemporary essay called "Atget's Intelligent Documents" written for this volume.
Published by Aperture. Photographs by Eugène Atget.
With the marvelous lens of dream and surprise, Atget “saw” (that is to say, photographed) practically everything about him, in and outside of Paris, with the vision of a poet. --Berenice Abbott Atget's photographs are unparalleled in their lucid realism and lyrical response to the pulse of the city and to the artifacts of human life in almost every social class. His images of parks, lakes, shop windows, vendors, prostitutes, buildings, sculpture and Paris street scenes go beyond documentation to a poetic vision of an era. Atget created some of the most beautifully articulated images of light and space ever made with a camera.
Newly Discovered Photographs from the Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Published by D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, Inc.. Photographs by Eugène Atget. Text by Sylvie Aubenas.
When EugÀne Atget was still alive, photographs and photographers were considered in a different light than they are today. At that time, no one would have dreamed of considering Atget an artist; he himself seems to have concurred, maintaining that the pictures he sold--at a price of 1 to 3 francs--were no more than documents. Libraries and museums constituted some of his most important clients; between 1900 and 1927, the Department of Prints and Photography of the BibliothÀque Nationale de France acquired thousands of his views of "old Paris." The manner of selecting these works remains obscure, but in 1995, after a laborious round of locating and classifying the historical photographs held by the department, a group of 39 hitherto unknown images by Atget were discovered. These studies of trees in the park at Saint-Cloud are essentially portraits of trees, some full-length, some details of roots or trunks--each a uniquely stark, high contrast abstraction of a genteel forest through the seasons. Found in their original envelope in the libraries archives, they had remained essentially untouched since they being purchased in July 1923. The envelope originally contained 111 photographs, bought for the sum total of 333 francs; the balance of the images featured more typical views of balustrades, statues, and terraces, and were published in a documentary volume on the park. The 39 images reproduced here for the first time were considered too abstract to stand as proper documentation. Without a framework for understanding such an image an artwork, they almost disappeared.