Nov 13, 2009




Eugène Atget

(French, 1857–1927)

Albumen print, gold-toned

Image: 22.2 x 17.6 cm (8 3/4 x 6 15/16 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

The Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2002.69



A prolific Parisian artist who enjoyed a three-decade career, Atget was one of the most important and original photographers active at the beginning of the 20th century. This sparkling landscape of a mass of white water lily blossoms (Nymphéa) is among Atget's best compositions, created in the 1920s, when he was at the height of his artistic prowess. This scene, full of luxurious botany, was probably taken in Bagatelle Park at the edge of Paris's Bois de Boulogne. He carefully focused on the floating plants and their sculptured flowers, detailing texture and shape. The early morning illumination created light and shadow patterns that enabled Atget to isolate flat, abstracted forms while simultaneously depicting a deep pictorial space. In this lush, purplish print, the lily pond shimmers with reflected shadows and brilliant highlights.

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