Aug 21, 2007

Versailles, Fountain of Triumphant France

Versailles, Fountain of Triumphant France


Eugène Atget

(French, 1857–1927)

Albumen print, gold toned

Image: 22 x 18.2 cm (8 11/16 x 7 3/16 in.); Matted: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1985.114



From 1901 until his death in 1927, Atget devoted much of his time to documenting châteaus and parks in and around Paris. Initially and most frequently, he was attracted to the gardens of Versailles, first working there until 1906. This intriguing detail of the Fountain of Triumphant France isolates two of its three allegorical figures: the seated representation of the French Empire behind Jean-Baptiste Tubi’s sculpture denoting Spain. The fountain was commissioned by Louis XIV to celebrate the French victory over Spain and Holland. The sharply focused composition filled with decorative and sculptural details is typical of Atget’s early photographs, which he understood to be "documents for artists"—raw material for painters, sculptors, stage designers, and craftsmen.

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