The J. Paul Getty Museum

Eugène Atget

Object Details


Eugène Atget


Berenice Abbott (American, 1898 - 1991)




Paris, France (Place Created)


August 1927


Gelatin silver print

Object Number:



22.5 × 17.5 cm (8 7/8 × 6 7/8 in.)


© Estate of Berenice Abbott

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Object Description

There was a sudden shock of recognition--the shock of realism unadorned. The subjects were not sensational, but nevertheless shocking in their very familiarity.

The realism in Eugène Atget's "documents for artists," his photographs of Paris, was so striking to Berenice Abbott that she immediately sought him out and began purchasing his images. At the time, Abbott was working in Paris as a darkroom assistant to the photographer Man Ray. She had only recently learned how to use a camera. Atget was not difficult to locate, living just up the street from Man Ray's studio. Shortly after meeting Atget in 1926, Abbot asked him to sit for a portrait. He was almost seventy years old then, frail and quite sad after the recent death of his wife. Atget died soon after this portrait was made, before Abbott could show him the work.

Abbott played a crucial role in making Atget's work known. After returning to New York in 1929, she published a book on his work, which featured 176 images, and eventually donated her collection to the Museum of Modern Art, New York.


André Jammes Paris, France

1990 -

Daniel Wolf, Inc. New York, NY, USA

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

The Man in the Street: Eugene Atget in Paris, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum), cover.

Abbott, Berenice and Pierre Mac-Orlan. Atget, Photographe de Paris (Paris: H. Jonquières, 1930), frontispiece.

Trottenberg, Arthur D., ed. A Vision of Paris. The Photographs of Eugène Atget; The Words of Marcel Proust (New York, Macmillan, 1963), rg, p. 7.

Abbott, Berenice. The World of Atget (New York: Horizon Press, 1964).

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, p. 8.

Borcoman, James. Eugène Atget, 1857-1927 (Ottawa: National Gallery of Canada, 1984), fig. 8.

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

Adam, Hans Christian, ed. and Andreas Krase. Eugène Atget's Paris (Köln; London; New York: Taschen, 2001), p. 9.