Nov 13, 2009

The Park at Sceaux [April 1925, 7a.m.]

The Park at Sceaux [April 1925, 7a.m.]


Eugène Atget

(French, 1857-1927)

Arrowroot print, gold-toned

Image: 22.9 x 17.6 cm (9 x 6 15/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2002.68



After the turn of the 20th century, Atget began to photograph many of the magnificent châteaux and parks surrounding Paris. This photograph is from a series taken of the abandoned estate and garden at Sceaux in 1925 and is considered his rarest and finest. It records that fleeting moment when a tree's sculptural form and the beginning stubble of its spring foliage are both visible. Shooting directly into early morning light, Atget captured the stately trees casting long, shimmering reflections on the placid pond surface. By visually compressing the background with the foreground, he created the illusion that this scene took place on a single plane. The use of arrowroot paper, characterized by a velvety texture and cool gray tonal range, enhances the print's atmospheric quality. This picture acknowledges Atget's unmatched ability to combine descriptive information and expression subtly, thereby creating mysterious images of breathtaking beauty.

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