Brassaï / Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle / 1932Brassaï
Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle

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Creator Name: Brassaï
Creator Nationality: European; French
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1899 - 1984
Biography: Brassaï (Gyula Halász) French, born Austria-Hungary, 1899-1984A photographer, painter, sculptor, and writer, Brassaï became known during the 1930s for his photographs of Parisian nightlife. Initially interested in painting, he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Budapest (1918-19), and the Academische Hochschule, Berlin-Charlottenburg (1921-22). He adopted the name Brassaï (after his hometown, Brasso) following his move in 1924 to Paris, where he worked as a painter and journalist for Hungarian and German newspapers. Around 1929-30 Brassaï began to take photographs, receiving advice from Hungarian photographer André Kertész. His special interest was the city at night; during his walks after dark he photographed Paris dance halls, cafes, bars, and bordellos, as well as the vagrants and thugs who roamed the dimly lit streets. In 1933 Brassaï's nocturnal views of Paris were published as Paris de Nuit (Paris by Night). The book was a great success and helped to launch his photographic career. Brassaï began to receive assignments from such journals as Verve, Labyrinthe, and Minotaure, a new review of art and literature which commissioned him to photograph artists and their studios. He also became associated with Harper's Bazaar and over the next three decades completed many assignments for the magazine. Among the artists and writers he came to know during this period were Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometto, André Breton, Tristan Tzara, and Man Ray. During the German occupation of Paris in the 1940s, no longer able to wander freely through the streets, Brassaï turned to drawing; he also began to photograph Picasso's sculpture in his Paris studio. After the war, Brassaï continued his photographic series Graffiti and designed the photographic backdrops for several plays and ballets; he also published Histoire de Marie (1949), a surrealist poem with a preface by Henry Miller. In the mid-1950s he won a prize at the Cannes film festival for his movie Tant qui'il y aura des bêtes and in 1964 publisheda critically acclaimed book, Conversations avec Picasso. Throughout his career Brassaï exhibited his pictures widely, including a one-person exhibition of his photographs of graffiti at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the mid-1950s, followed by a retrospective of his work there in 1968. M.M.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Austria-Hungary
Creator Name-CRT: Brassaï
Title: Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1932
Creation End Date: 1932
Creation Date: 1932
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Image: 37.9cm x 28cm
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1992.97
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Anselm Talalay in honor of Evan Turner
Copyright: Copyright ? Gilbert Brassaï
Context: Brassaï's best-known photographs of the 1930s describe the nocturnal atmosphere of Paris, recording the misty streets and smoke-filled cafés frequented by artists, poets, writers, and other colorful characters. Although working with a cumbersome magnesium flash, Brassaï was so sensitive to his surroundings that his subjects remained entirely at ease before the camera. This photograph, taken at a bar owned by Lulu de Montparnasse on the rue Edgar-Quinet, captures a relaxed couple enjoying a late evening. Brassaï was one of the first to exploit the full pictorial possibilities of night photography, creating a new aesthetic based on the curious and harsh effects of gas and electric lights.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1992.97
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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