Daniel Wolf, Inc.
Note: Agent for André Jammes
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Eugène Atget (French, 1857 - 1927)
Paris, France (Place Created)
Gelatin silver chloride printing-out paper print
17.8 × 22.9 cm (7 × 9 in.)
The place Pigalle and its surroundings in Montmartre have been a center for bawdy nightlife from at least the 1870s, when artists and writers frequented its cafés and music halls, until the present, when tourists flock to its strip joints, drag shows, and discotheques. Despite this colorful history, Eugène Atget seems not to have photographed the place Pigalle until 1925, when he made at least three views of the buildings that line it. With his back to a fountain in the center of the semicircular space, he made his study of this newly remodeled structure. It had earlier housed a cabaret, patronized by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and Émile Zola (1840-1902), with a roof garden, which was later enclosed to house a supper club, the New Monico. (An earlier Monico occupied the premises in 1910.)
Below the club is a restaurant, its tables and chairs ready for the day's clients. The trash cans neatly lined up along the sidewalk indicate that the image was made very early in the morning. Above and behind the rooftop sign for the club is a large attic window that perhaps lights a painter's studio. In addition to the stylish Art Deco embellishments to the facade, further traces of modernity are the automobiles, rarities in Atget's pictures, that are parked in the street that veers to the right. There too is a horse-drawn cart, the driver of which is presumably making a delivery. Appropriately for a district famed for nightlife, the moon presides over the scene, but only from a giant billboard that advertises pasta.
Originally published in Eugène Atget, In Focus: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum by Gordon Baldwin (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), 72. ©2000, J. Paul Getty Trust.
Trottenberg, Arthur D., ed. A Vision of Paris. (New York: Macmillan, 1963), p. 58. Also see more general view of the Place in Martinez & Pougetoux, pp. 72-73.
Baldwin, Gordon. In Focus: Eugène Atget: Photographs from the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), pl. 43.