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Eugène Atget

Atget, Eugène (özhĕnˈ ätzhĕˈ) [key], 1857–1927, French photographer. After working as a sailor and then as an actor for many years, Atget became a photographer at the age of 42. He began at once to produce his detailed visual record of Paris and its environs, particularly St. Cloud and Versailles. Atget made his living by selling his images of the city to painters for use as source material, and later to the Parisian historical monuments society. In making his photographs of the parks, lakes, shop windows, vendors, prostitutes, ragpickers, buildings, flower markets, sculpture gardens, doorways, bridges, and street scenes of Paris, Atget went beyond documentation. His quiet, reflective, and poetic images are dramatic with the force of time gone by. A large number of his many thousands of pictures are in the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Atget's work was published and brought to international attention by the photographer Berenice Abbott.

See A. D. Trottenberg, ed., A Vision of Paris: The Photographs of Eugène Atget (1963); B. Abbott, The World of Atget (1964); J. Szarkowski and M. M. Hambourg, The Work of Atget (4 vol., 1985); J. Szarkowsky, Eugène Atget (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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