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Eugène Atget (French, 1857–1927)
LOT ID: 65719
Ménangerie, 1925

Silver Print, gelatin silver print
7.88 х 9.88 in. (20.02 x 25.1 cm.)
Stamped, "Credit Halberstadt Collection" on verso.
Print/Casting Year ie. circa 1930
Lot description
Eugène Atget, Ménangerie, 1925. Gelatin silver print, 7.88 x 9.88 inches (20 x 25.1 cm). Stamped. Printed on double weight paper by Berenice Abbott in the 1930s.

These prints were made by Berenice Abbott prior to 1935, some as early as 1929-30. Shortly thereafter Abbott met American screenwriter Ferdinand Reyher, who would become instrumental in helping Abbott to expose the works of Atget. The prints were given to Reyher in hopes of having them published in a high quality book. During this time, an individual at Addison Gallery expressed an interest in exhibiting the photographs, which resulted in the first museum show of Atget’s work in the United States. Reyher, Abbott and Rehyer’s cousin Ernst Halberstadt all worked on the production of the exhibition. Around 1950, Halberstadt bought between 30 and 50 of these prints from Reyher.

Eugène Atget
b. 1857, d. 1927

Eugène Atget never called himself a photographer; instead he preferred "author-producer." A private, almost reclusive man, Atget first tried his hand at painting and acting, then began to photograph vieux Paris (Old Paris) in 1898. He photographed in part to create "documents," as he called his photographs, of architecture and urban views, but he supported himself by selling these photographs to painters as studies. Atget carried a large-format view camera, an outdated, cumbersome outfit, through the streets and gardens of Paris, usually photographing around dawn; many of these areas--storefronts and public spaces in nineteenth-century Paris and Versailles--were demolished soon afterward to make way for rapid urbanization.

Though Atget was not well known during his lifetime, his visual record of a vanishing world has become an inspiration for twentieth-century photographers. American expatriate photographers Man Ray and Berenice Abbott rescued his work from obscurity just before his death. Abbott preserved his prints and negatives, and was the first person to publish and exhibit Atget's work outside of France. Many existing prints of Atget's images were, in fact, made by Abbott in the 1930s from his negatives.[]
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