Interiors

Eugène Atget Fireplace, Hôtel Matignon, former Austrian embassy, 57 rue de Varenne, 7th arrondissement 1905, albumen photograph © Musée Carnavalet, Paris/Roger-Viollet/TopFoto

As well as selling individual photographs by the thousands, Atget created albums. The Musée Carnavalet acquired an album assembled and bound by him and registered on 27 August 1910 as Artistic, picturesque, and bourgeois Parisian interiors at the start of the 20th century. This album groups together different social classes by profession, moving from the worker to the realtor, the collector to the decorator, the person of independent means to the milliner.

Atget photographed apartments without their occupants, although the personalities of the latter are nonetheless present, whether through the noticeable wear and tear on the furniture or the arrangements of the living rooms and bedrooms. Some photographs in this typological series are of Atget’s own apartment, masked with a hidden identity and a different address. At the end of the album he placed the interiors of his apartment side by side with that of the great actress Cécile Sorel, star of the Comédie-Française – a juxtaposition by which he perhaps wished to signal his admiration for the woman whose theatrical success was uncontestable, unlike his own (Atget studied acting as a young man and had worked as an actor).