Looking at Atget
by Peter Barberie
Essay by Beth A. Price and Ken Sutherland
Renowned for his alluring and provocative photographs of the monuments, interiors, streets, and people of Paris and its environs, Eugène Atget (1857–1927) carefully recorded the details of his subjects for a range of clients, including artists, designers, and libraries. Although not well known in his lifetime, Atget’s influential work is now in the collections of almost all of the world’s major museums. This book, replete with exquisite reproductions of 110 Atget photographs—including a number of previously unpublished images—features selections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s magnificent holdings, comprised largely of works from the collection of the celebrated American gallery owner Julien Levy.
Peter Barberie explores the earliest and most compelling accounts of Atget’s photography and describes the efforts undertaken by Levy and by the American photographer Berenice Abbott—each with a different perspective on Atget’s work—to promote his legacy in the United States. By analyzing how Atget organized the albums he used in his workroom and sold to his institutional clients, Barberie also offers fresh insights into the photographer’s working methods and purposes. Conservation scientists Beth A. Price and Ken Sutherland discuss their findings about the processes and materials used by Atget and by Abbott, who printed from Atget’s negatives after acquiring the contents of his studio in 1928.
About the Authors
Peter Barberie is the Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow in Photography, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Beth A. Price is Senior Conservation Scientist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Ken Sutherland is Conservation Scientist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
143 illus. (129 color)
9 x 11 ½ inches
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2005