The J. Paul Getty Museum

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

Object Details


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


Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)




Paris, France (Place Created)


1908 or 1912


Albumen silver print

Object Number:



22.1 × 17.5 cm (8 11/16 × 6 7/8 in.)

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Object Description

Residents surrounding this narrow passageway provided few signs of their domestic lives for the photographer to record. Baskets and a few rags hang out of the uppermost window, while two people below observe Eugène Atget making this picture. On a windowsill to the right, houseplants bask in the sunlight invading the tall shaftway. Although people inevitably ambled in and out of this courtyard, dropping off and picking up their ironing at "the most pleasant ironers," the absence of activity when this picture was created conveys a stark sense of gloominess. The weather-beaten facades and the rubbish bins at the left further underscore this impression. During the time that it took to record the details of this space on Atget's glass plate negative, the brightness of the sunlight from the street outside caused overexposure of the view through the portal.

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

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.