The J. Paul Getty Museum

Vieille Cour, 22 rue Quincampoix (Old Courtyard, 22 rue Quincampoix)

Object Details

Title:

Vieille Cour, 22 rue Quincampoix (Old Courtyard, 22 rue Quincampoix)

Artist/Maker:

Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place Created)

Date:

1908 or 1912

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Object Number:

86.XM.628

Dimensions:

22.1 × 17.5 cm (8 11/16 × 6 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

This bleak view documents the commercial use by the urban working class of cramped public or quasi-public spaces. In this photograph, in what was originally the private courtyard of a sixteenth-century house, a small enterprise that advertised that ironing was done "most amiably" shares the alley with several apartments, evidenced by the rags hung out to dry, the baskets on pegs, the houseplants on windowsills, and the two figures in the central window. It is a measure of the gloom in this space that during the long exposure that it took to record details of the courtyard, the comparative brilliance of the sunlight in the street outside caused the view through the rectangular portal to be overexposed. To leave by that doorway was to exit into a larger, brighter world. This picture and two others by Eugène Atget (see 84.XM.1034.5 and 90.XM.64.133) are not only documents of specific urban spaces but also poignant studies of the differing textures of battered and abraded stone, dented and scarred metal, and light reflecting from dull surfaces.

Adapted from Eugène Atget, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum by Gordon Baldwin (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), 50. ©2000, J. Paul Getty Trust.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
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
Bibliography
Bibliography

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, fig. 57.

Baldwin, Gordon. In Focus: Eugène Atget: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pl. 21.