Brassaï (French, 1899-1984)
gelatin silver print, Image: 37.9 x 28 cm (14 7/8 x 11 in.); Matted: 55.9 x 45.7 cm (22 x 18 in.). Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Anselm Talalay in honor of Evan Turner 1992.97
Brassaï's best-known photographs of the 1930s describe the nocturnal atmosphere of Paris, recording the misty streets and smoke-filled cafés frequented by artists, poets, writers, and other colorful characters. Although working with a cumbersome magnesium flash, Brassaï was so sensitive to his surroundings that his subjects remained entirely at ease before the camera. This photograph, taken at a bar owned by Lulu de Montparnasse on the rue Edgar-Quinet, captures a relaxed couple enjoying a late evening. Brassaï was one of the first to exploit the full pictorial possibilities of night photography, creating a new aesthetic based on the curious and harsh effects of gas and electric lights.
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