About this artwork
After giving up the dream of becoming a successful stage actor, Eugène Atget worked as a commercial photographer, systematically documenting Paris in images that have since become celebrated as precise, poetic records. In 1920 Atget sold a large cache of his negatives, which afforded him the freedom to create photographs for his own purposes. He frequently photographed Saint-Cloud, a park located just outside Paris, whose emptiness at sunrise is depicted here. Atget’s representation of absence can be understood as a response to the trauma of World War I; the son of his common-law wife, Valentine Compagnon, was killed at the start of the war, and with daily life upended, Atget took care to protect his photographic oeuvre. In contrast to his early work of producing serviceable, if compelling, documents, Atget’s later images embrace mood and metaphor, allowing the photographed scene to reflect his inner state.
Currently Off View
- Jean-Eugène-Auguste Atget
- Salted paper print
- Inscribed recto, in negative, upper left, backwards, in white: "1148"; recto, in negative, lower right, backwards, in black: "1148"; inscribed verso, upper center, in graphite: "St Cloud"; verso, upper right, in graphite: "[illegible] / 1148 ["48" underlined]"; stamped and inscribed verso, lower center, in black ink and graphite: "E. ATGET / Rue Campagne-Première, 17 [?] [stamped in black ink] / 17 lis [?/underlined] [inscribed in graphite]"
- 17.5 × 23.3 cm (image); 17.7 × 23.7 cm (paper)
- The Mary and Leigh Block Endowment Fund