The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York is currently featuring “Documents pour Artistes”, an exhibition of photos of Paris in the first quarter of the 20th century by French photographer Eugène Atget (1857–1927). The exhibit gets its name from the sign that used to hang outside Atget’s studio, which is testament to his ambition to create images for other artists to use as raw material for their own work. His photos offer glimpses into urban Paris, Parisian and rural courtyards, as well as “surrealist” photographs of mannequins, store windows, and street fairs that took the Paris avant-garde world by storm in the 1920s.
Not much is known about Atget himself, except that he was born near Bordeaux in 1857, and worked as a sailor, actor, and painter before turning to photography in the late 1890s, according to the National Gallery of Art, Washington.
(These photos are reprinted by permission of The Museum of Modern Art, where the photos are on show from February 6–April 9, 2012)
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