The J. Paul Getty Museum

Hôtel Scipion Sardini, R[ue] Scipion

Object Details


Hôtel Scipion Sardini, R[ue] Scipion


Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)




Paris, France (Place Created)


March 1925


Albumen silver print

Object Number:



17.8 × 22.2 cm (7 × 8 3/4 in.)

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Object Description

Scipion Sardini (1526-1609), who built this elaborate house and its appendages in 1565, was an Italian whose family moved to France in 1533 in the wake of Catherine de Medici, the Italian heiress who married King Henri II. As a tax collector and banker to royalty and the nobility, Sardini became rich, unpopular, and then very rich. His mansion was the first of many buildings to be constructed in Paris in a mixture of stone and brick, the stone being used to mark corners and surround windows and doors, and the brick as a wall surface. After Sardini's death the house was used as a hospital for the poor; then, during an outbreak of the plague, as a temporary prison; and later as the central dispensary for candles, meat, and bread for all the hospitals of Paris. It served as the place where bread for the hospitals was baked until it was sold in early 2020. Fortunately, the building’s facade will be left intact because it holds a historical monument status.

Of the several views that Eugène Atget made of this building, this one, taken from the square that borders a side of the mansion, shows the aspect of the exterior that had least changed from the time the house was constructed. The dim light of winter produced a range of gray tones on the brick and stone surfaces that is offset by the black of the foreground trees and the white of the snow that catches the sunlight.

This print, according to an inscription on the back, belonged to Maurice Utrillo, who is known for his views of Paris, particularly of Montmartre. He directly modeled a 1926 painting on the photograph altering nothing in Atget's composition except for changing the season to what seems to be spring, adding several figures, and brushing in a few spindly shrubs in the foreground.

Adapted from Eugène Atget, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum by Gordon Baldwin (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), 72. ©2000, J. Paul Getty Trust.


Maurice Utrillo Paris, France, French, 1883 - 1955

Atget's Magical Analysis: Photographs 1915-1927 (October 29, 1991 to January 5, 1992)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 29, 1991 to January 5, 1992
The Man in the Street: Eugène Atget in Paris (June 20 to October 8, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 20 to October 8, 2000

Petrides, Paul. L'oeuvre Complet, vol. II (Paris, P. Pétridès, 1959-), pp. 462-63, Maurice Utrillo directly modeled a painting of 1926 on this photograph.

Szarkowski, John and Maria Morris Hambourg. The Work of Atget. 4 vols. (New York: Museum of Modern Art; Boston: Distributed by New York Graphic Society, 1981-1985) vol. 2, pl. 102.

Baldwin, Gordon. In Focus: Eugène Atget: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pl. 40.