[Staircase, Montmartre]

Object Details


[Staircase, Montmartre]


Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)




Paris, France (Place created)




Albumen silver print


21.8 × 17.8 cm (8 9/16 × 7 in.)

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Historians have suggested that the solitary tree served as a kind of self-portrait in Eugène Atget's photographs. Trees were a favorite subject of the reclusive and private photographer, and they appear often as silent witnesses in his views of Paris and its environs. In a busy architecture study such as this one, the lone, winter-bare tree dominates the composition, its branches drawn carefully on the blank slate of sky. The old neighborhood's bleak textures of mildew, decaying wood and plaster, and scarred stone fill three-quarters of the frame, while the few signs of nature, such as the tree and the modest garden of the house at the left, hold forth a promise of seasonal renewal.


Zabriskie Gallery

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
Arrows of Time: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (January 24 to April 2, 1995)
  • Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at UCLA (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 2, 1995
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) fig. 8.

Naef, Weston. Atget's Magical Analysis: Photographs 1915-1927, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991) cover.

Baldwin, Gordon. In Focus: Eugène Atget; Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000) pl. 35 and cover.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007) p. 314, ill.

Education Resources

Education Resource




Buildings, Buildings Everywhere

Students learn about shapes in architecture by painting their school and writing a reflective summary of their study of architecture.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts


Three/Five-Part Lesson