Brassaï (Gyula Halász) French, born Hungary (now Romania), 1899–1984
About this artwork
From the moment of his arrival in Paris in 1924, Brassaï (who took his name from Brasov, his Transylvanian birthplace) was fascinated by the city “under cover of darkness.” Around 1930, when the former art student learned from his friend André Kertész that photography at night was indeed possible, he began documenting this extraordinary underworld. The result was his remarkable publication Paris at Night (first published in France in 1933), which depicts not only such well-known spots as the Arc de Triomphe, but also dark streets and alleys with just enough light to reveal a flower-shop window, a pissoir, a show at the Folies-Bergère, or the details of wet paving bricks. This image is from a 1932 series taken around Les Halles, in which Brassaï recorded women he called the “Venuses of the Crossroads,” or prostitutes standing at their posts. With an aura of mystery, Brassaï captured one of these ladies of the evening as she stood on the puddled street corner, smiling into the shadows.
Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.
Unmarked recto; stamped verso, lower right, in purple: "PHOTO BRASSAI / COPYRIGHT BY / GYULA HALASZ / 74, RUE DE LA GLACIÈRE / PARIS (13e) ["e" in superscript]" ; inscribed verso, lower center, in graphite: "21 [encircled] / RMG 282.31"
Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. Leigh B. Block
Extended information about this artwork
Wood, James N. and Teri J. Edelstein. 1997. “The Art Institute of Chicago: The Essential Guide.” Publications Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. p 181.
Wood, James N. 2000. “Treasures from The Art Institute of Chicago.” Hudson Hills Press, Inc. p. 274.
Wood, James N. 2003. “The Art Institute of Chicago: The Essential Guide - Revised Edition.” Publications Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. p 181.
Travis, David. 2005. “Paris: Photographs from a Time that Was.” Exh. cat. Art Institute of Chicago/ Yale University Press. p. 72.
Sharp, Robert V., Elizabeth Stepina and Susan E. Weidemeyer. 2009. “The Art Institute of Chicago: The Essential Guide.” Publications Department of the Art Institute of Chicago. p. 278.
Art Institute of Chicago, “Bystander: A History of Street Photography,” December 10, 1994-April 16, 1995; traveled to the San Jose Museum of Art, January 16-April 4, 1999. (Colin Westerbeck)
Art Institute of Chicago, “Brassai and Company,” January 24-May 17, 1998. (David Travis)
Art Institute of Chicago, “Hot Streaks,” February 21–May 2, 2004. (David Travis)
Art Institute of Chicago, “Paris: Photographs from a Time that Was,” August 13–November 6, 2005. (David Travis)
Art Institute of Chicago, “Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Art and Photography of Paris,” September 20, 2008–January 4, 2009. (David Travis)
Art Institute of Chicago, Gallery 10 Permanent Collection Rotation, November 3, 2012–May 6, 2013.
Houston, Texas, Museum of Fine Arts, “The Art of Photography: 1839-1989,” February 11-April 30, 1989; traveled to Australian National Gallery, Canberra, June 17-August 27, 1989; Royal Academy of Arts, London, September 23-December 23, 1989; Sezon Museum of Art, Tokyo, March 3-April 1, 1990. (Anne Tucker)
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