Brassaï (French, 1899-1984)
gelatin silver print, Image - h:37.90 w:28.00 cm (h:14 7/8 w:11 inches)
Matted - h:55.88 w:45.72 cm (h:22 w:18 inches). 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.