Art-5: George Brassaï

George Brassaï (September 9, 1899 – July 8, 1984) was a Hungarian-born French photographer, credited with creating countless iconic images of 1920s Parisian life. He moved to the city in 1924, where he worked as a journalist and joined a circle of Hungarian artists and writers. After dark, he wandered his neighborhood of Montparnasse and documented prostitutes, street cleaners, and other characters of the city nightlife, publishing his work in the seminal 1993 book Paris de Nuit. Though Brassaï is famous for capturing the grittier aspects of the city, he also documented high society, including the ballet, opera, and intellectuals—among them his friends and contemporaries, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Alberto Giacometti, and Henri Matisse. Originally born Gyula Halász on September 9, 1899 in Brassó, Hungrey, Brassaï adopted his pseudonym from his hometown. He studied sculpture and painting at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, and in 1920 moved to Berlin. By 1924, the artist’s photographs brought him international fame, and his first show at The Museum of Modern Art in New York was held in 1948, though he continued to support himself with commercial photography throughout his life. He died on July 8, 1984 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France.

Click here or here to read more about the artist.

1. Couple d’amoureux, Place d’Italie, 1932

2. Woman with cat mask, 1930

3. The Man With White Umbrella, 1934

4. A Monastic Brothel, 1932

5. Passerby in the Rain, 1935

Art-5 is a monthly feature of visual artists and their work. Fair use photos courtesy of Text from Artnet.

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