Chiffonier (Ragpicker)

Object Details

Title:

Chiffonier (Ragpicker)

Artist/Maker(s):

Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)

Culture:

French

Date:

1899 - 1901

Medium:

Albumen silver print

Dimensions:

22.2 x 18.1 cm (8 3/4 x 7 1/8 in.)

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In this poignant image, a chiffonier, or ragpicker, pulls his horseless cart through the Paris streets. The deep shadow that conceals half the vendor's face amplifies the intense expression created by his furrowed brow. Despite being notoriously independent and proud, ragpickers were outcasts in the view of French society.

The ragpicker was one of many street vendors photographed by Eugène Atget for his collection of "documents for artists." Used by engravers and graphic artists, the photographs illustrated a large assortment of trades, from produce vendors and umbrella peddlers to cutlery sharpeners and asphalt layers.

Exhibitions
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
In Focus: The Worker (November 3, 2009 to March 21, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 3, 2009 to March 21, 2010
Bibliography

The Man in the Street: Eugene Atget in Paris, exh. brochure (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum) fig. 4.

Baldwin, Gordon. In Focus: Eugène Atget; Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000) pl. 8.