Brassaï, ‘Soirée at Chartres’, 1933-1934, Phillips

Signature: Signed, titled, dated, annotated 'Tirage par Brassaï by Madame Gilberte Brassaï' in pencil and copyright credit stamp on the verso.

From the Collection of Madame Gilberte Brassaï
Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York
Phillips de Pury & Company, New York, 2 October 2012, lot 140

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