By descent to Marie-Therese Tzara
Christie's New York, 29 April 1999, Sale 9150, Lot 168
The Work of Atget, Volume IV: Modern Times (The Museum of Modern Art, 1985), p. 128, pl. 92
Molly Nesbit, Atget's Seven Albums (New Haven, 1992), p. 132
Laure Beaumont-Maillet, Atget: Paris (Santa Rosa, 1992), p. 586
Gerry Badger, Eugene Atget 55 (London, 2001), unpaginated
Peter Barberie, Looking at Atget (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2005), pp. 55 and 94
Franz Roh and Jan Tschichold, FotoAuge (London: Thames and Hudson facsimile reprint of the 1929 original edition, 1977), pl. 1
Edward Lucie-Smith, The Invented Eye: Masterpieces of Photography, 1839-1914 (New York, 1975), pl. 152
Happy Birthday Photography: Bokelberg Sammlung (Kunsthaus Zürich, 1989), pl. 94
Atget’s photographs, promoted by him as ‘Documents pour Artistes,’ were re-contextualized by the Parisian avant-garde, who saw in his images of Paris’s changing landscape, architecture, and street vendors, an unselfconscious, ‘automatic’ vision. Man Ray, for instance, who also maintained a studio on rue Campagne-Première, met Atget in the mid-1920s and acquired a number of his photographs, images that Man Ray later described as having ‘a Dada or Surrealist quality about them’ (Looking At Atget, p. 54). Among the Atget photographs that Man Ray and his fellow Surrealists favored were images of shop fronts, window reflections, and headless mannequins, as in the image offered here. Three of Atget’s photographs were published without credit in the above-mentioned 1926 issue of La Révolution Surréaliste, including Corsets (Boulevard de Strasbourg), which illustrated Marcel Noll’s account of an erotically-charged dream.
The Corsets image continued to be seen in a Surrealist context after Atget’s death. A print was exhibited in 1929 in the avant-garde Film und Foto exhibition in Stuttgart and appeared as the first plate in the accompanying book Foto-Auge. In 1936, New York gallerist Julien Levy included Corsets in his seminal volume Surrealism.
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