Parisian interiors according to Eugène Atget

Parisian interiors according to Eugène Atget


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  • Small Interior of a Dramatic Artist.

    ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

  • Interior of an employee at the Louvre stores.

    ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

  • Interior of a worker: rue Romainville.

    ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

  • Interior of Mr A., ​​Industrial: rue Lepic.

    ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

To close

Title: Small Interior of a Dramatic Artist.

Author : ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

Creation date : 1910

Date shown: 1910

Dimensions: Height 22.7 - Width 17.7

Technique and other indications: Positive photograph on albumen paper from gelatinobromide glass negative

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: RES OA-173-PET Fol Atget 690

Small Interior of a Dramatic Artist.

© Photo National Library of France

To close

Title: Interior of an employee at the Louvre stores.

Author : ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

Creation date : 1910

Date shown: 1910

Dimensions: Height 22.7 - Width 17.7

Technique and other indications: Positive photograph on albumen paper from gelatinobromide glass negative

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: RES OA-173-PET Fol Atget 721

Interior of an employee at the Louvre stores.

© Photo National Library of France

To close

Title: Interior of a worker: rue Romainville.

Author : ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

Creation date : 1910

Date shown: 1910

Dimensions: Height 22.3 - Width 17.8

Technique and other indications: Positive photograph on albumen paper from gelatinobromide glass negative

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: RES OA-173-PET Fol Atget 742

Interior of a worker: rue Romainville.

© Photo National Library of France

To close

Title: Interior of Mr A., ​​Industrial: rue Lepic.

Author : ATGET Eugène (1857 - 1927)

Creation date : 1910

Date shown: 1910

Dimensions: Height 22.6 - Width 17.6

Technique and other indications: Positive photograph on albumen paper from gelatinobromide glass negative

Storage location: National Library of France (Paris) website

Contact copyright: © Photo National Library of France

Picture reference: RES OA-173-PET Fol Atget 769

Interior of Mr A., ​​Industrial: rue Lepic.

© Photo National Library of France

Publication date: December 2007

Historical context

A professional documentary album

In 1910, Atget produced an album of sixty photographs entitled Parisian interiors, early 20th century: artistic, picturesque and bourgeois. Conceived as documents, the images were to provide representative examples of contemporary ornamentation to decorators, illustrators, artists who needed models to furnish spaces, make theatrical sets or design fictitious interiors in their drawings, paintings, writings. .
The titles of the photographs thus indicate the occupation of their occupant, so as to distinguish social classes, while the album's subtitle offers a tripartite differentiation of accommodation. The "artistic" interiors (of the dramatic artist, of the amateur sculptor, of the decorator, of the collector or of Mademoiselle Sorel) are dissociated from the "bourgeois" interiors (of the petty rentiere, of the employee of the Louvre stores, of the milliner, financier, stockbroker or industrialist) and working-class interiors designated by the term "picturesque" (of the worker and the worker).

Image Analysis

Decorative profusion, pageantry and individuality

While a few photographs focus on showing the kitchen and intimate rooms with their furniture - the bed, the bathroom, the office - the photographs focus, for the most part, on the formal rooms of the home. In particular, they showcase the essential decorative elements of the living room: the fireplace, the sideboard, the chest of drawers which are the site of a proliferating ornamental display.
The chimneys of the dramatic artist and the worker are topped with a mirror - according to the fashion established by Haussmann buildings, itself taken from the decoration of large mansions - and the shelf is cluttered with sculptures, vases, candlesticks, clocks, photographic frames and other small artefacts of more or less value. The industrialist's chest of drawers only supports a marble tablet and a basket of flowers, but it serves as a visual base for the very dense hanging of the numerous paintings, engravings and drawings that surmount it. The employee's sideboard in the Louvre stores is also at the heart of an abundant decorative arrangement: adorned with bas-reliefs, columns, moldings, it is embellished with crockery, vases and is framed by paintings by one side and ornamental objects on the other (vase, again, and what look like small statuettes).
The interior of the dramatic artist is particularly representative of the decorative exuberance of the time. The walls are entirely covered with reproductions; the smallest support is invaded with trinkets. The worker's living room, although more sober, is also busy: the floral wallpaper replaces the paintings, two clocks stand side by side and a molded velvet armchair seeks to reproduce bourgeois luxury.
The predominance of reception and performance spaces in Atget's album indicates the importance given to them by individuals at the time and at the same time expresses the care taken in their decoration. The ornamental profusion reigning in these interiors, which derives from their ostentatious function, also testifies to the spread of the role devolved to the work of art, the trinket, signs of social success and means of personalizing the home, of marking one's tastes.

Interpretation

A critical work

Through these clichés, it is therefore possible to reconstruct the type of decoration in vogue at the beginning of the 20th century - eclecticism characterized by the ornamental overload and the juxtaposition of various styles in a restricted space - while penetrating into the intimacy of 'a person. These images can indeed be seen as a continuation of interior portraits where families and individuals had their photos taken at home to show their environment, the objects indirectly signifying the personality of the inhabitant.
However, the subtitle and the form of the album invite an almost political reading of these photographs. By grouping and titling his photos according to the occupations of their occupants, Atget seems to mean that style is a function of social class. The lack of hierarchical classification of interiors (from the richest to the poorest, for example) is then a way of showing the differences, of exposing the inequalities by creating oppositions. Atget's socialist commitment invites all the more to see in this album an investigation into Parisian social circles: a subscriber to left-wing magazines, having given lectures in popular universities, it is possible that he sought to through these images a new form of political action.
However, if the viewer perceives dissimilarities, the stylistic heterogeneity of the interiors, both among themselves and within themselves, is even more striking. Motives, furniture, objects with heterogeneous aesthetics are found juxtaposed in the same space and no unified style is manifested, unlike in previous eras. Atget’s photographs thus indirectly echo the critiques of eclecticism from the end of the 19th century. They show that eclecticism was not a true modern setting that could be associated with a particular period. Without coherence, unity or distinctive attributes, he was not capable, according to his detractors, of expressing the spirit of the times. Born in the second half of the 19th century, he was nevertheless well representative of the cultural, intellectual and scientific appetite of that time.

  • architecture
  • bourgeoisie
  • workers
  • Paris
  • photography
  • working class

Bibliography

ARIES Philippe, DUBY Georges (dir.)History of Private Life Volume 4, From the Revolution to the Great WarParis, Editions du threshold, 1987.Eugène Atget 1857-1927, Parisian Interiors, PhotographsParis, Musée Carnavalet, 1982 [exhibition catalog: Eugène Atget 1857-1927, Parisian Interiors, Photographs Paris, Musée Carnavalet, 19/10/1982 - 21/11/1982]. Stéphane LAURENTApplied arts in France: the genesis of teachingParis, Edition of C.T.H.S., 1999 Remy SAISSELINThe Bourgeois and the TrinketParis, Albin Michel, 1990.

To cite this article

Claire LE THOMAS, "Parisian interiors according to Eugène Atget"


Video: Eugene Atget - Master of Photography


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