Brassaï, ‘Jeune fille de joie, Quartier Italie’, ca. 1932, Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Printed c. 1932

Signature: Signed, titled and dated on verso

“Brassaï: The Eye of Paris,” The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, December 6, 1998 - February 28, 1999; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, April 13 - July 4, 1999; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 17, 1999 - January 16, 2000

Nabonne, Bernard. “La nuit Basque,” Paris Magazine, no. 30 (février 1934), p. 98;
Eisner, Maria Giovanna, “Brassaï,” Minicam Photography (April 1944), p. 23;
Tucker, Anne Wilkes. Brassaï: The Eye of Paris (Houston: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,
1998), cat. no. 40

From the artist; by bequest to Gilberte Brassaï; to the present owner, c. 1988

About Brassaï

Whether a couple embracing in a seedy nightclub, a prostitute flaunting herself under a streetlight, or a huddle of petty criminals under an otherwise abandoned bridge, Brassaï found poetry in the derelict. “The thing that is magnificent about photography is that it can produce images that incite emotion based on the subject matter alone,” he once said. Best known for photographing candid night-time scenes in the Montparnasse district of Paris—an area populated with artists, streetwalkers, petty criminals, and prostitutes (subjects that initially scandalized the public)—Brassaï was dubbed the “eye of Paris” by his friend, the American writer Henry Miller. Originally born Gyula Halász, he later acquired the pseudonym Brassaï after his Hungarian hometown Brassó and made an international name for himself with books such as Paris de nuit (Paris After Dark) (1933) and Voluptés de Paris (Pleasures of Paris) (1935), in which he captured both the seedier sides of the French capital and its high society. “There are many similarities between what we call the 'underworld' and the 'fashionable world,” he said. Over the course of his career he photographed many of his artist friends including Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Alberto Giacometti, as well as prominent writers such as Jean Genet.

French, b. Hungary, 1899-1984, Brasov, Romania, based in Paris, France