Jean-Eugène Auguste Atget (French, 1857–1927)
Sheet: 18.1 x 21.8 cm (7 1/8 x 8 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Photograph, gold-toned albumen print from glass-plate negative, unmounted
Not On View
Eugène Atget is known for his photographs of Paris. An independent entrepreneur, Atget created an immense archive of views of Paris and nearby palaces and parks, such as Versailles and Saint-Cloud, for a clientele of artists, libraries, and museums. This photograph of the park at Versailles uses the compositional device of receding lines to achieve a quiet, spacious effect. Broad sweeps of pathway and sky alternate with velvety swaths of vegetation. A rhythmic punctuation of urns, tree trunks, and sculpture marks the plunge into the distance. Atget’s image was intended as a document of the park, yet the dreamlike quality that imbues the photograph goes beyond the factual and resonates with some twentieth-century art movements such as Surrealism.
Inscribed in negative, l. l.: (reversed 6). Inscribed in graphite, across left edge, verso: "Versailles 6350 (or 6390; third digit difficult to read)"
Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA; purchased by MFA from Robert Klein Gallery November 1989.
Helen B. Sweeney Fund