Art of the 20th Century




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Brassai





 

Brassai (Gyula Halasz)

(b Brasso, Transylvania, Hungary [now Romania], 9 Sept 1899; d Nice, 8 July 1984).

French photographer, draughtsman, sculptor and writer of Hungarian birth. The son of a Hungarian professor of French literature, he lived in Paris in 1903–4 while his father was on sabbatical there, and this early experience of the city greatly impressed him. In 1917 he met the composer Béla Bartók, and from 1918 to 1919 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest. Due to the hostility between Hungary and France in World War I he was unable to study in France and so moved to Berlin in late 1920. There he became acquainted with László Moholy-Nagy, Kandinsky and Kokoschka and in 1921–2 attended the Akademische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin. He was a keen draughtsman and while there produced a series of characteristic drawings of nudes executed in an angular, emphatic style. In 1924 he moved to Paris, where he quickly became involved with the artists and poets of the Montmartre and Montparnasse districts while supporting himself as a journalist. In 1925 he adopted the name Brassai, derived from that of his native town, and throughout that year he continued drawing as well as making sculptures. In 1926 he met André Kertész, who introduced him to photography. In 1930 Brassai began taking photographs of Paris at night, concentrating on its architecture and the nocturnal activities of its inhabitants. These were collected and published as Paris de nuit in 1933 and showed the night workers, cafés, brothels, theatres, streets and buildings of the capital. The artificial lighting created strong tonal contrasts, lending the images a strikingly evocative beauty. Some of his photographs were included in the exhibition Modern European Photographers at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York in 1932, and the following year at the Arts et Métiers Graphiques in Paris he had a one-man show of his photographs of Paris, which travelled to the Batsford Gallery in London the same year.



 


Backstage at the Folies-Bergere
1933


 


"Bijou" of the Montmartre cabarets
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Chez "Suzy"
1932-33


 


Lovers in a Bistro
1932-33


 


Lovers


 


Arc de Triomphe
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Open Gutter
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


"House of illusion"
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Notre Dame from the Ile Saint-Louis
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Obelisk and fountains in the Place de la Concorde
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


"Bijou" of the Montmartre cabarets


 


Palais-Royale train station
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Place de la Concorde from Automobile Club
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Boulevards at the Place de l'Opera
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Oldest police station in Paris
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 

Tugboats and barges beside Pont-Neuf
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Prostitute at angle of
Rue de la Reynie and Rue Quincampoix
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Boulevard Montparnasse, Paris
1932


 


Under one of the Seine bridges
From "Paris by Night"
1933


 


Seville
1952-53


 


Lovers in a small cafe in the Italian quarter
1932


 


Kiki singing in a Montparnasse cabaret
1933


 


Aristide Maillol at Work on L'Ile de France
1932


 


Mannequin dans la vitrine


 


Avenue de l’Observatoire
1934


 


Gala Soiree at Maxim’s
1949


 


Girl Playing Snooker, Montmartre
    1933


 


The Pont Neuf in Paris
1932


 


Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle
1932


 


Nun in Kitchen
1932


 


Brassai photographing Paris at Night
1932


 


Gens du milieu


 


Balloon
1931


 


Dean of Porters
1935


 


Grand Central
1957


 


Henry Miller
1933


 


Picasso
1932


 


Picasso


 


Holy Week, Seville


 


Dali on a Rock in Cap Creus
1955


 


Maillol's Study at Marly le Roi
1936


 


Plain Tree
1945
 

 


Young Prostitute
1932



Seville en fete
 


Untitled

 

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