Looking at Atget

Barberie, Peter
Date published: 
October 2005

Renowned for his alluring and provocative photographs of the monuments, interiors, streets and people of Paris, Eugène Atget (1857–1927) was fascinated with the myriad materials, textures, surfaces and details of his subjects. Although not well known in his own lifetime, his influential work now appears in almost all the world’s major museums. This book, replete with exquisite reproductions of more than one hundred of Atget’s photographs, features selections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s highly prized collection, including at least ten previously unpublished images and two albums in which the photographer stored his own work.

Peter Barberie explores the earliest and most compelling accounts of Atget’s photography and recounts the efforts undertaken by photographer Berenice Abbott and art dealer Julien Levy - each with a different perspective on Atget’s work - to bring his photographs to the United States and to promote his legacy. By analysing how Atget assembled and organised his own albums, Barberie also offers fresh insights into how the photographer may have viewed his own work