Paris Itineraries: Photography by Eugene Atget. Art Gallery of Ontario. (Exhibition Review)
Delaney, L. Jill, Urban History Review
Between 1892 and 1927, Eugene Atget created an extraordinary and enduring photographic document of the historic streets and buildings of central Paris. The exhibition "Paris Itineraries: Photography by Eugene Atget," at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO), on view between February 28 and May 27, 2001, was a remarkable reconstitution of this French photographer's fin-de-sielce project. Independent Canadian curator David Harris carefully selected more than 180 images from the more than 5000 that Atget created to focus on his systematic and exhaustive approach to representing not only the streets, courtyards, parks, and buildings of le vieux Paris (pre-Revolutionary Paris), but also the spaces they framed. Harris has reinvested Atget's work with a large measure of its original documentary purpose (in contrast to the successful campaign of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and Berenice Abbott to incorporate Atget into the world of fine art), while also emphasizing the spatiality of the work.  Through the exhibit an d catalogue -- the latter is in french only -- both photographic and urban historians can appreciate the oeuvre as well as the unique manner in which Atget's images document the spatial practices manifested in le vieux Paris. As argued by the brochure accompanying the show, Atget "approached architectural and urban photography as a progressively unfolding description of spaces." The visual argument presented by Harris does slightly manipulate viewers into thinking they are viewing an objective recreation of these spaces, but it is a very appealing manipulation, and not without merit.
Jean-Eugene Atget was born in 1857 in Libourne, France. In 1892, he quit a not very successful career in the theatre and established himself as a professional photographer in Paris. In his first few years, Atget provided documentary photographs of …
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Publication information: Article title: Paris Itineraries: Photography by Eugene Atget. Art Gallery of Ontario. (Exhibition Review). Contributors: Delaney, L. Jill - Author. Journal title: Urban History Review. Volume: 30. Issue: 2 Publication date: March 2002. Page number: 46+. © 1998 Becker Associates. COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group.
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