Atget and the Man Ray album

Eugène Atget Boulevard de Strasbourg 1912, albumen photograph, George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester

Atget’s address book, conserved at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, contains an impressive list of clients, including artists and artisans, as well as history and decorative-arts enthusiasts. Important members of the avant-garde – such as Georges Braque (1882–1963), Maurice Utrillo (1883–1955) and Man Ray – also purchased Atget’s work, although their names are not in this book.

Man Ray lived on the same street as Atget in Paris: rue Campagne-Première in Montparnasse. Man Ray probably discovered Atget when the latter visited his studio and showed him his work. Man Ray purchased a number of the photographs and shared them with his artistic circle, including the American photographer Berenice Abbott (1898–1991).

The photographs exhibited here were bought from Man Ray in 1952 by Beaumont Newhall (1908–93), then curator at George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography in Rochester, New York. An album was included as part of the acquisition, although there is no evidence to suggest that the photographs were ever actually fixed into it and the album is now empty. All the photographs in this exhibition are the original photographs, made by Atget.