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L1 - Eugene Atget Notes (1902-1924)

by: Dominique N.

L1 - Eugene Atget Notes (1902-1924) ARHI 3530

Marketplace > University of Georgia > Art History > ARHI 3530 > L1 Eugene Atget Notes 1902 1924
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L1 - Eugene Atget Notes (1902-1924)
Art History 3530 - Modern Photography
Janice Simon
Class Notes
Eugene, Atget, EugeneAtget, Photo, Photography, Paris, france, modernist, Modern, berniceabbott, bernice, abbott




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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Dominique N. on Monday May 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to ARHI 3530 at University of Georgia taught by Janice Simon in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Art History 3530 - Modern Photography in Art History at University of Georgia.


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Date Created: 05/23/16
ARHI 3530 – Modernist Photography  Eugene Atget – Unintentional modernist (becomes seen as a modernist) – Antique Store, rue du Faubourg-Saint – Honorè, 1902 albumen print o Thousands of photographs; Made 8,000-10,000 different prints arranged into 13 series and would sometimes rearrange o Arranges pictures in albums categorized as series o Wasn’t known to mass world of art until the end of his life o Bernice Abbott (American) – saw his pictures and purchased his prints and distributed then to others (including Julian Levey [American])  Bernice Abbott called his art “styless” – doesn’t fit into the styles of modern artists of the time, but described him as a photography who captured the humility, dignity and respect for the subject o Surrealists first become interested in him o Famously said: he was a photographer of documents  Documents for artists, bibliographers, historians, scenic designers, etc. (Document por artìst); not autonomist  Devote his life to photograph all the little crannies and shops of Old Paris  Documenting Old Paris o Made the medium speak for itself  Did not altar  Viewing through the lens becomes the act of choice making  Camera allowed us to see  Roland Barthes – Camera Lucidia – “Cameras were clocks for seeing…”  Notion that time is very much part of what a photograph imparts to us  Captures what is there and will no longer exist o Things he doesn’t photograph  New monument in Paris – The Eiffel Tower  i.e. how Brusai (photographs Paris at night) – photographs new metropolitan station (1880s and 90s)  Doesn’t photograph new buildings, but may use as background o Photograph of Atget by Bernice Abbott (1927)  Discovered his photographs in 1927 o Julian Levey  Seen as opening our eyes (quote on slide) o Antique Store, rue du Faubourg-Saint – Honore, 1902 albumen print  Antique store was originally a house altered over time and looks modern now  Big department store windows  Become big American and European architecture in the 1800s  Reflections become a huge part of his work  Atget is outside in our space and perhaps (un)  Photograph of the place and also the process of photographing it  MODERNIST AMBIGUITY of what is on the surface, in our space, and inside the shop  Composition:  Slightly off center (something Atget does)  Very frontal (Atget loves frontality) (2D surface being emphasized)  Storefronts are almost like portraits  Typical of old Paris: little ajar to create interest  Not worrying about being super refined  Not using quick exposure  Large format camera, tripod and glass plates (no film yet)  New Paris and Old Paris being juxtaposed  Diagonality because of background o Sense of imperfection  Bibliotec Nacional – sells his photos to them  Clients (would show them his series)  Famous o George brock – co-inventor of cubism with Picasso  Sold to theatrical for stage sets  Parents died when young and lived with Maternal grandparents (so he had older Paris history prevalent in life)  Sailor then an acting student (unsuccessful)  Important to think of his work as a stage set  Theatrical sensibility in his work  Took up photography at 35 (1890s)  Valentine Compagnon – successful actress and Life-long companion to Atget  Had no children  Always uses albumen paper (second slide) Albumen – egg white (becomes outdated in early 1900s) Dry glass plate negative covered in silver gelatin  Holds up to sunlight until the exposure darkens to liking  Grates small, glass prints  7”x 9” o Atget, Apple Trees 1898  First series  Evidence of glass plates  Little black taps on the side and the top holding plate  Way he approaches tree is full of modernist vision  Composition:  Tree fills up who picture space  Eye goes off and stays on the surface (grain stack)  Horizon line perfectly breaks up tree trunk from branches  Anthropomorphic; tree is similar to human form (bust to crazy head hair)  Detail: o Grain stacks o Ambiguity of space and size o Japanese prints; Hiroshige Plum Tree Estate  Big up close; then small details in the back o Fine detail of branches because there are no leaves; some evidence of harvesting in the back, but is in late fall  Death, age, decay o Cropped and can’t see roots (very frontal) o Diagonality because of background  Sense of imperfection o One, lone tree o Arranges pictures in albums categorized as series to sell them to:  Kept a book with clients and meeting times  Vlaminck Through the Trees 1911-12  Abstracts his forms geometrically  Monet Poplars on the Epte 1891  Etc. o Did post cards o Stunning because of compositional, sharp detail  Liked lenses that let him get up close and likes long exposure o Started early in the morning and took about 15-20 glass plates o Street Trade Series  135 plates of trades people (typically poor)  Called Picturesque Paris  Old types of people in Paris  Turn of the century  Atget The Ragpicker 1899 – 1900, Street Trade Series, Picturesque Paris  Possibly took 3-5 minutes  Poorest of all the people depicted  American Version: America, Street Types: Street Sweeper Chicago Trade Card  Asked them to pose for him  Turned into post cards (80) that were made and sold  Difference between the two o American is posed in a studio and the French one is in the action of his true work o American might not actually be a rag picker (could just be someone posing  What social comment is implied?  Uses objects to help define the individual  Only parts in focus are the things that define him as a rag picker o Handheld cart o Large bundle of rags/trash  Blurred buildings in the back are quite significant and what do they represent and juxtapose? o Large boulevards o By the 1860s there was a large change in Paris  Bernard Hausmann – Architect  Small, impoverished streets were taken down/destroyed  Benefit – big beautiful streets and new townhouses o Suggestion of displacement of space through time  Very isolated from the modern world background and focusing on him only o Modern world in the background (possibly machine powered contraption in the back) o Burden on him suggested by piled up bags  Sense of instability  One white colored bag that is slightly ajar o Focus on him, making you remember the often over-looked o Picturesque – fitting for a picture  The Organ Grinder (Barrel Piano 1898-1899), Street Trade Series, Picturesque Paris  Wonderful juxtaposition between the two figures o Parent/grandparent with a young girl o Her face is animated w/ a huge smile and has her hand out posing; Olympic gymnast stance so possibly conveys a performance o He seems stern; has heavy shadows over his face and he’s less dynamic  His hand is blurred; possibly making music  His dark hand next to her whiter flesh  Skeletal quality to his face  Poverty, near death, decay  Sense of dignity, well-kept and well- groomed o Here is the performance and here is the truth  Bottom right corner – cloth on the floor to collect the money; adds to sense of depravation  Shut shudders, roughness of the curb, then fancy lace curtains that contrast the simplicity of their clothing  Diagonals; some things are set awry o Former Charnel House (Eglise Saint-Gervais) 1898 “Old Paris: in Picturesque Paris  Depth of feel – everything is in focus  There are no figures  Emphasizes the space; the space and surfaces become the subject  Baroque/Gothic architecture  Forbidding quality  Narrowness of the alleyway  Long exposure, smaller lens  Light at the top seems to be another building  Moss – life, change and decay; moss vs. the rough bricks  Seem like walls that would be put up in play sets; no figures – like you’re waiting for a play to start  Fancy juxtaposed with simple and old o 1901 – 1921 series called “Art in Old Paris”  Thinking you’ll get to see the art of the Louvre  Possibly something artists would use for their backdrops  Billboard Street c. 1900  no figure suggests absence  the lantern suggests a figure looking back at us  dead end  Alleyway c. 1900  Simple; the common  No idea where it is  Walls show the process of time o People who are living on the edge of the city or an alleyway  Rag and Bone Man’s House 1910  Sculptural animals on the roof  similar to southern folk art  ambiguity of what figures are real and which are stuffed (fake)  remnants of someone’s presence – empty boots  Brings you into his life; for his living he collects stuff (often going through trash)  Ategt was a packrat; had lots of stuff and collected a lot of things  Like a portait  Cour, 41 Rue Broca 1912  Cour = Courtyard  41 Rue Broca = Street name  Children looking from the window and someone in the top left o In an impoverished and dangerous situation o Where are the parents  Cart at the bottom full of rag picker stuff  Lots of rectangles and you might think are empty, but each have depth  Oriental rug with wonderful intricate design and gives us a sense of luxury goods (associated with wealth and beauty) juxtaposed with the simplicity and poor aspects  Steps look worn (Atget loves staircases) o In Atget’s work they all lead upward, but you don’t know what to o Sign – “Escalier F1” (interesting fact: Walker Evans loves signs) o Adolf Loos (1870 – 1933); Viennese architect  Power of contrast  Ornament and Time 1910  Steiner House 1910 Vienna  Hans Rufer House 1922 Vienna o Arcueil-Cachan; May-July 1915; KNOW EXACT DATE  Made during world war one  This is Romanesque with gothic elements/touches  Romanesque before we get to gothic  Startling contrast her presents  Dark and light  Foreground is very light o Draws you into the background that is dark  Shallow space  White marble statue w/ delicate folds and elements vs. the heavy columns  Little altar/reliquary; private chapel  Contrasting reliefs o Heavy in comparison to the Virgin Mary o Delicate vs male figures  Candle sticks are like bayonets  Where do people often go during conflict? The church; symbol of protection  He was not particularly devout, but did a lot of churches o Saints-Gervais et Protais 1904-1905  Photograph of a pew  Decorator or architectural historian would be interested  Sharp diagonals and contrast of light  St. Peter – founder of the church; looks to us from his very structured space  Peter with a key at some sort of gate  Lion and harp-like figure  Light spot at the top and dark spot at the bottom (Heaven and Hell) o 5, RUE DE MAIL (doorknocker with hippogriff) 1908  suggestiveness of the fragment  just given a portion of things  hippogriff = half horse and half griffin; guardians of valuable things  Heraldic symbol of a family dynasty  Doorknocker is slightly awry o 91, RUE DE TURENE (staircase) 1911  one of his most famous staircases because it was bought by Man Ray  acquired by Man Ray (surrealist photographer and American artist) 1926 reproduced with 3 others in magazine La Revolution Surrealiste  still working with diagonals and strong lights and darks  staircase leads to a place that we cannot access (attracts surrealists very much)  contrasting the wonderfully detailed iron and decayed building walls and floor  recognition of time presented in the decay of the building o Maison ou Mourot Voltaire (House of the Dead Voltaire) 1909  Egyptian sphinx  Hippogriffs above doorway  All this geometry and wear and tear on the outside  Shallow, but the doorway lows you to go further back o Hotel (apartment) du Cardinal Dubois, Rue de Vlaois 1913  Looks like a Greek figure  How does Atget find oppositions?  Going back to seeing reflections and its confusion the dark and light and whats inside and outside  Lacey curtains with scalloping  Sea dragon  Nude figure looking very androgynous  Could be a representation of the sea or wind  Something very Greek/Pagan nude figure is uncommon for a Cardinal (someone of the church) o Cabaret Artistique “L’enfer” 1911, Picturesque Paris  Building has been altered for commercialism  Someone might want to use this for set design  Unexpected for refined Paris o Café “L’Homme Arme” 1900 (Man of arms), Picturesque Paris  Modern man vs medieval armored man  4 total faces (contrasting men from diff. periods and different styles)  visual play; pun on man  slight sense of being askew and focus on geometric shapes  frontality (were so much on the surface)  reflections in the right window adds spatial complexity  lots of light and dark contrasting  starts adding text o Charles Baudelaire “Painter of Modern Life” La Flaneur  Important art critic  Friends with Edward Manèt  “become one with modern day life and its fluidity” become one with the crowd and be an observer  get away from academia; be silent and just observe  La Flaneur – stays to the side and just observes, but doesn’t comment o Au Tambour 63 Quai de la Tournelle 1908  Atget with his camera and a figure outside and then a person’s head inside is on the random figure  Fantastic play on complexity of surface  Ex: Monet’s water lilies (complexity of surface) o Small Interior of a Dramatic Artist, Mr. R. Rue Vavin 1909 - 1910  Part of his series of interiors – almost all are vertical (60 Prints - Parisian interior: artistic picturesque and Bourgeois [1900-1910])  His fascination with reflections, but now he uses the interior mirror to give us a complexity of space  Visual elements  The sharp diagonals  Geometric shapes  Light and dark  Puts figures inside a scene with no figures  Reflection  Printed it even though the glass broke  So many clocks (reference to time and decay)  Wandering figure (brings back to his life as a sailor), little girl, and the three graces (classical references)  Bust – Voltaire bust on the far left  Lots of books  Admirer of Victor Hugo (Les Miserables) – identifies with common folk  Will take pictures of his apartment, but doesn’t indicate that it’s his (makes up fake names etc.) o Rue De Varenne Ambassade D’Austriche, 57 (Austrian Embassy [Rococo]) 1905 o Interior of a Working Man (Rue De Romaniville) 1910  Ornate marble area with elaborate decoration vs. simple stove  Pattern of flowers on all of the decorative elements and then gives us a big plant and the plant is reflected  Photographs at the top  Very humble space, but there is a big elaborate world being produced here  Still life of a crockpot and peaches hanging on the wall  Artists interested in “how do you represent the world?”  Fruit on the marble plant pot  Leon Morat (friend of Atget’s) o CAREER AFTER WW1 and how his art changes - More complexity of his work  Menswear Accessory Shop 1910  Here we have a sense of the past  More about the things that are added and the text  Magasin, Avenue Des Gobelins 1925 (with women)  What about this strikes such interest to Modernists?  Modern woman, modern dress, modern hairstyle o Modern moment and past moment brought together  Complexity of ambiguity o Inside/outside ambiguity o The whole image is almost like a double exposure; two worlds intersecting with each other o Very little that is outside—all the rest is either inside or reflected  He brought us up so close o Very shallow, yet seems far away o Faceless silhouette (can see his legs) in the reflection  Appears to surrealists because they love to combine figures  He is going in the opposite direction of the women o Modernist interest in everything going different ways o Labels on the floor (what do they do)  Magasin, Avenue Des Gobelins 1925 (with men)  Even more shallow  Since its darker there is less confusion and more emphasis on the reflection  Their gazes are going outside the glass  Headless mannequin (very interesting to surrealists)  Much more fragmented in comparison to the female’s picture because the line of pants creates a barrier  The reflection is what the subject (mannequin) is looking at  Labels (more and smaller numbers)  He did not photograph from 1917-1919  Fete du Trone Attraction 1925  It’s about the largest person in the world with the smallest person in the world  Has a representation (interior of a worker picture remember similar) billboard stand in for the figure o We don’t see the actual figure, just representations of them o Fascination with billboard  Text  Fete du Trone – Armand the Giant (detail) 1925 o Shows pictures of the two standing next to them o Bernice Abbott – printed this so the lightbulb floats (modernized it and made it even more something of interest) o Objects and photographs standing in to help tell us the story o Simplicity of the architecture  Chatillion, Gycine (Wysteria) 1919-21  Continues to photograph trees after the war  Gives us the opportunity to come up with meaning from this image  A lot lighter and softer  Looks as if the tree is growing from the sidewalk o Tree flourishing in this space after the previous 4 years of death and destruction o There’s no soil but its growing well o Looks like a crucifix  Sacrifice and redemption  Stand in for the human figure o Wysteria grows all over and well o BEFORE WW1 o Versailles, Parc 1901  Frontal but slightly diagonal  Geometric shapes in pedestal  Light and dark contrast – extreme darks and lights  A figure that is not a real figure  What is she looking at?  Who is going to sit on the bench? —Theatricality  Old – interest in the past  Slight vignette in the corner (not interested in refining the image)  Very great detail captured o Versailles, Staircase of L’Orangerie 103 Degrees, 20 meters long, July 1901  Full title is full of measurements  Document  He wants this known  Frontal but slightly diagonal  Light and dark contrast – extreme darks and lights  What is beyond the stairs? —Theatricality  Slight vignette in the corner (not interested in refining the image) o AFTER WW1 again  Saint-Cloud, Morning 6:30 July 1921  Reflection in the water  Saint-Cloud June 1926  Polo Bvelvedere sculpture  Reflection in the water  Saint-Cloud Etang, 9 am (Trees Early Morning)  Relates to the art of Monet o Poplars on the Epte 1900 and Water-lily Pond and weeping willow 1916-1919  Abstraction of form  No place for us to stance, were in the water  Saint-Cloud (Grand Cascade) 1924  Evoking meaning through choice of place  Cascade means waterfall, but we are looking at the back steps  The trees around and steps are coming out here  Ascending staircase o Trails off to where we don’t know what is leads to o Looks worn and dirty; decay  Sense of time  The strong diagonals  Ironic because it’s not “grand”  Gives attention to the aspects of everything that are overlooked o Forgotten elements of Paris  Compare to Versailles stairs: the Versailles stairs are grand and something people would come to  Panthéon 1924  Looking at it through something else  As if it is a fading memory/dream; almost ghostly/nostalgic  The modern street lamp and very modern sign in the bottom left  Heavy contrasting but VERY intentionally o PROFOUND SENSE OF LOSS AND DECAY; fading of Paris’ heroic past as modernity takes over; what has disappeared since WW1


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