Quai Conti 3
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Eugène Atget
French, Paris, 1900
8 3/16 x 7 1/16 in.

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Au Petit Dunkerque, a bar in Paris, was bustling with business when Eugène Atget stood directly in front of the entrance to document it. The name of the establishment is subordinated to the sailing ship above it, a leftover from old Paris, when many businesses advertised with images rather than words because of their largely illiterate clientele. A trellis of grapes grows around the doorframe and heavily barred windows, then a Parisian requirement for premises that sold alcohol. By contrast, the open door is a deep, black chasm from which emerges a truncated, headless ghost in a white shirt and waistcoat. Due to their excessive motion during the exposure, his head and legs have disappeared into a hopeless blur. The striped fabric along the top left edge and the fringe on the folded-back awning across the top of the image create a frame for the facade.