Eugène Atget

French Photographer | Born: 1857 - Died: 1927

Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget was born 12 February 1857 in Libourne. His father, carriage builder Jean-Eugène Atget, died in 1862, and his mother, Clara-Adeline Atget née Hourlier died shortly after. He was brought up by his maternal grandparents in Bordeaux and after finishing secondary education joined the merchant navy.

Atget moved to Paris in 1878. He failed the entrance exam for acting class but was admitted when he had a second try. Because he was drafted for military service he could attend class only part-time, and he was expelled from drama school. Still living in Paris he became an actor with a travelling group, performing in the Paris suburbs and the provinces. He met actress Valentine Delafosse Compagnon, who became his companion until her death. He gave up acting because of an infection of his vocal chords in 1887, moved to the provinces and took up painting without success. His first photographs, of Amiens and Beauvais, date from 1888.

1890 Atget moved back to Paris and became a professional photographer, supplying documents for artists: studies for painters, architects and stage-designers. Starting 1898 institutions such as the Musée Carnavalet and the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris bought his photographs. The latter commissioned him ca. 1906 to systematically photograph old buildings in Paris. 1899 he moved to Montparnasse.

While being a photographer Atget still also called himself an actor, giving lectures and readings. During World War I Eugène Atget temporarily stored his archives in his basement for safekeeping and almost completely gave up photography. Valentine's son Léon was killed at the front.

1920-1921 he sold thousands of his negatives to institutions. Financially independent he took up photographing the parks of Versailles, Saint-Cloud and Sceaux and produced a series of photographs of prostitutes. Berenice Abbott visited Atget in 1925, bought some of his photographs, and tried to interest other artists in his work.

1926 Valentine died and Man Ray published several of Atget's photographs in la Révolution surréaliste. Abbott took Atget's portrait in 1927. Eugène Atget died 4 August 1927 in Paris.

Source: Wikipedia


Eugène Atget (1857–1927) turned to photography in his late 40s, building a body of work that described the city of Paris and its environs. In its simplicity and clarity of vision, this project, resulting in over 10,000 photographs, became a modern urban portrait that has influenced many photographers since. Inspired to make a portrait of Paris at the moment when historic Paris was becoming Haussman’s modern Paris, Atget captured the changing city with eloquence and sensitivity.

Atget received little recognition before his death in 1927, but due to the posthumous efforts of photographer Berenice Abbott, his work was preserved, promoted, and gained its rightful place in history. A significant number of his prints, including many negatives, are held by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., along with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France.

Source: Fraenkel Gallery



Photos © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Eugène Atget
Piercing Time: Paris after Marville and Atget 1865-2012
Author: Peter Sramek
Publisher: Intellect Ltd
Year: 2013 - Pages: 456
Piercing Time examines the role of photography in documenting urban change by juxtaposing contemporary “rephotographs” taken by the author with images of nineteenth century Paris taken by Charles Marville, who worked under Georges Haussmann, and corresponding photographs by Eugène Atget taken in the early twentieth century.
 
Atget
Author: John Szarkowski
Publisher: The Museum of Modern Art
Year: 2012 - Pages: 224
Eugène Atget (1857-1927) devoted more than 30 years of his life to a rigorous documentation of Paris, its environs and the French countryside, through more than 8,000 photographs. Atget died almost unknown in 1927, although groups of his prints were included in various Paris archives. In 1925 Berenice Abbott discovered his work, and after his death she arranged to buy his archives with the help of art dealer Julien Levy; in 1968 that collection was purchased by The Museum of Modern Art. Originally published in 2000 and long unavailable, this classic, superbly produced volume surveys the collection through 100 carefully selected photographs. John Szarkowski, head of MoMA's Department of Photography from 1962 to 1991, explores the unique sensibilities that made Atget one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century and a vital influence on the development of modern and contemporary photography. An introductory text and commentaries on Atget's photographs form an extended essay on the remarkable visual intelligence displayed in these subtle, sometimes enigmatic photographs.
 
Paris
Author: Eugene Atget, Hans Christian Adam
Publisher: Taschen
Year: 2008 - Pages: 252
Eugène Atget roamed the streets with his bulky large format camera, systematically cataloguing turn-of-the-century Old Paris down to the very smallest details. His skilled, wonderfully atmospheric photos of Paris' parks, buildings, streets, store windows, prostitutes, workers, and even door handles are a joy to behold.
 
Street Photography: From Atget to Cartier-Bresson
Author: Clive Scott
Publisher: I. B. Tauris
Year: 2007 - Pages: 256
Street photography is perhaps the best-loved and most widely known of all photographic genres, with names like Cartier-Bresson, Brassai and Doisneau familiar even to those with a fleeting knowledge of the medium. Yet what exactly is street photography? From what viewpoint does it present its subjects, and how does this viewpoint differ from that of documentary photography? Looking closely at the work Atget, Kertesz, Bovis, Rene-Jacques, Brassai, Doisneau, Cartier- Bresson and more, this elegantly written book unpicks Parisian street photography's complex relationship with parallel literary trends -- from Baudelaire to Soupault -- as well as its more evident affinity with Impressionist art. Street Photography reveals the genre to be poetic, even "picturesque," looking not to the type but to the individual, not to the reality of the street but to its "romance."
 
Paris Changing: Revisiting Eugène Atget
Author: Eugène Atget
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Year: 2007 - Pages: 192
Between 1888 and 1927 Eugène Atget meticulously photographed Paris and its environments, capturing in thousands of photographs the city’s parks, streets, and buildings as well as its diverse inhabitants. Christopher Rauschenberg spent a year in the late 90s revisiting and re-photographing many of Atget’s locations. Paris Changing features seventy-four pairs of images beautifully reproduced in duotone. Each site is indicated on a map of the city, inviting readers to follow in the steps of Atget and Rauschenberg themselves. The book concludes with essays by Clark Worswick and Alison Nordstrom, an epilogue by Rosamond Bernier as well as a portfolio of other images of contemporary Paris by Rauschenberg.
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Carrie Mae Weems
Nationality: American
Born: 1953
Carrie Mae Weems (born 1953) is an American photographer and artist. Her award-winning photographs, films, and videos have been displayed in over 50 exhibitions in the United States and abroad and focus on serious issues that face African Americans today, such as racism, gender relations, politics, and personal identity. She has said, "Let me say that my primary concern in art, as in politics, is with the status and place of Afro-Americans in our country." Weems was born in (…)
 
Cole Weston
Nationality: American
Born: 1919
Cole Weston, born on January 30, 1919 in Los Angeles, was the fourth and youngest son of famed 20th Century photographer, Edward Henry Weston. Cole received his first camera, a 4 by 5 Autograflex, from his brother Brett in 1935. Cole graduated with a degree in theater arts from the Cornish School in Seattle in 1937 and then served in the Navy during World War II as a welder and photographer. After his discharge from the Navy in 1945 Cole worked for Life Magazine. In 1946 he (…)
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
 
Iolo Adams
Nationality: Australian/British
Born: 2000
I Grew up in Bournemouth until I was 8 years old, when I moved to Blenheim, New Zealand and went through college and sparked my interest in photography, I've recently moved back to England in search of work in photography and more exposure and connections in the industry.
iolo.adams@hotmail.com
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
Iolo Adams
 
Dorte Verner
Nationality: Danish
Dorte Verner was born in Denmark and lives in Washington, D.C, USA. She holds a Ph.D. in economics and a passion for bringing change and attention to vulnerable people and voiceless people. Dorte's expertise in international development allows her to understand the reality in the environments she photographs. Dorte has won numerous prizes and awards for her photographs, e.g. she won the Nikon-100-Year Photo Contest 2016-2017, specifically the Most Popular Entry: Disappearing (…)
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
Dorte Verner
 
Espen Rasmussen
Nationality: Norvegian
Born: 1976
Espen Rasmussen is based at Nesodden, close to Oslo, Norway. He works as a photo editor in VG Helg — the weekend magazine of the biggest daily Norwegian newspaper VG. At the same time he is constantly working on his own photo projects. Rasmussen focuses specially on humanitarian issues and the challenges related to climate change. He is represented by Panos Pictures. In 2008 he was listed by Photo District News on the prestigeous PDNs 30 — New and Emerging Photographers to (…)
 
Mi Zhou
Nationality: Chinese/American
Born: 1962
Mi Zhou was born in 1962 in China, studied Civil Engineering in college. Following graduation, worked for 13 years as a field engineer for Chinese National Railroad Survey and Design Institute. In 1997, obtained Master degree in Communication Arts from New York Institute of Technology. From 1997 to 2004, worked as art director at Y&R /K&L advertising Inc., New York. Since 2004, resides in San Francisco, USA, working as freelance photographer, mainly focusing on personal (…)
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
Mi Zhou
 
Alexa Moon
Nationality: Russian Federation
My name is Alexa Moon. I am a fine art photographer with Russian roots. Now I am living and creating in the small city Neumuesnter in North Germany. My photography journey began at the age of 19. That was the time when my family passed away and I realized in that moment that life is too short to do things that you don't love. So I quit my university in Russia where I was studying political science before which I didn't enjoy and came to Europe to follow this new philosophy (…)
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
Alexa Moon
 
Hossein Fardinfard
Nationality: Iranian
Born: 1985
Netherlands-based Iranian documentary photographer Hossein Fardinfard (born 1985) took an unconventional path to his profession. After majoring in cartography, geomorphology, and IT, ultimately he discovered his aptitude for visual storytelling at the age of 30.

Fardinfard came to see photography as a means for observing society more intimately, and for knowing himself more deeply in turn. He has thus come to specialize in photography that explores social (…)
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
Hossein Fardinfard
 
(Arthur Fellig) Weegee
Nationality: Austrian/American
Born: 1899 - Died: 1968
Weegee was the pseudonym of Arthur Fellig (June 12, 1899 – December 26, 1968), a photographer and photojournalist, known for his stark black and white street photography. Weegee worked in the Lower East Side of New York City as a press photographer during the 1930s and '40s, and he developed his signature style by following the city's emergency services and documenting their activity. Much of his work depicted unflinchingly realistic scenes of urban life, crime, injury and (…)
 
Monia Merlo
Nationality: Italian
Born: 1970
She was born in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, 1970. After finishing her studies in Venice, she teamed her work as an architect with her passion for Photography, making it her main expression medium. Monia currently works as a freelance photographer, her work is focused on fashion, including prestigious collaborations with famous brands. Her photos find inspiration in literature, poetry and her most inner feelings. They are means of creation, research and development of a work (…)
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
Monia Merlo
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices