Looking at Atget

Overview

Renowned for his alluring and provocative photographs of the monuments, interiors, streets, and people of Paris, Eugène Atget (1857–1927) was fascinated with the myriad materials, textures, surfaces, and details of his subjects. Although not well known in his own lifetime, his influential work now appears in almost all the world’s major museums. This book, replete with exquisite reproductions of more than one hundred of Atget’s photographs, features selections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s highly prized ...
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Overview

Renowned for his alluring and provocative photographs of the monuments, interiors, streets, and people of Paris, Eugène Atget (1857–1927) was fascinated with the myriad materials, textures, surfaces, and details of his subjects. Although not well known in his own lifetime, his influential work now appears in almost all the world’s major museums. This book, replete with exquisite reproductions of more than one hundred of Atget’s photographs, features selections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s highly prized collection, including at least ten previously unpublished images and two albums in which the photographer stored his own work.

Peter Barberie explores the earliest and most compelling accounts of Atget’s photography and recounts the efforts undertaken by photographer Berenice Abbott and art dealer Julien Levy—each with a different perspective on Atget’s work—to bring his photographs to the United States and to promote his legacy. By analyzing how Atget assembled and organized his own albums, Barberie also offers fresh insights into how the photographer may have viewed his own work.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Paris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries is almost synonymous with the massive photographic record of Eugene Atget, whose achievement in capturing the entire range of life and location in the great capital-from prostitute to aristocrat, from stable to palace-is rivaled only by Balzac. Graced with excellent and well-chosen reproductions, including 10 that have never appeared before, Barberie's book is a keen and subtle overview of the photographer's work. And it is conveniently published to coincide with this fall's much-anticipated Atget retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The show is derived from two important collections: that of fellow photographer Berenice Abbott, who purchased the contents of Atget's studio at his death in 1927, and that of dealer Julien Levy, who purchased thousands of images from Abbott and helped her establish Atget as a central figure in modernism. Using the two collectors as a way into Atget's world, Barberie contrasts their viewpoints, tracing how Abbott could promote Atget as a "great `styleless' photographer who recorded the world around him with humility" while Levy praised him as a "proto-Surrealist." The additional section on photographic materials (written by Beth A. Price and Ken Sutherland) bolster's the book's air of definitiveness with its fascinating, if technical, details on printing, binders, etc. In short, this book makes an elegant shelf mate for the Taschen volume that is beloved by Francophiles around the world. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300111378
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/11/2005
  • Pages: 136
  • Product dimensions: 11.60 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.71 (d)

Meet the Author


Peter Barberie is the Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow in Photography, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
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