Brassai

October 23 – December 6, 2003

Press Release

BRASSAÏ
Contacts

October 23 through December 6, 2003
Opening Reception: Thursday, October 23, 7 - 9 p.m.

The Fahey/Klein Gallery is pleased to present the photographs of Brassaï. One of France's most renowned photographers, he is most famous for his night scenes of Paris in the 1930's. "I was inspired to become a photographer by my desire to translate all things that enchanted me in the nocturnal Paris I was experiencing." (The Secret Paris of the 30's, 1976) The exhibition features individual contacts of Brassaï's most popular images.

Brassaï was fascinated by the underworld of Paris, the people and places that only the night revealed. "They belong to the world of pleasure, of love, vice, crime, drugs." (The Secret Paris of the 30's, 1976) Brassaï searched the most ominous areas and places for his subjects: bars, dives, night-clubs, one-night hotels, bordellos, and opium dens. His subjects were whores, pimps, gangsters, criminals, outcasts and addicts. He was known to enter rundown buildings and houses in the middle of the night, shock and frighten the occupants, just to see what view of Paris he might encounter through their open window. He had an incomprehensible desire to observe Paris the way only a small number of inhabitants knew it.

As Brassaï spent years wandering the streets, cafes and bars of Paris, he came into contact with many relevant artists and writers such as Picasso, Matisse, Dali, and Henry Miller. He developed life-long friendships with some, and was able to photograph them in their natural environments and studios. Most notable of these friendships was with Picasso. There are a few images in the exhibition that Brassaï took of the artist in his studio. Brassaï describes one portrait of Picasso, "…I feel that I managed to capture the fiery, fixity of his gaze, that could pierce, subjugate, devour whomever or whatever he looked at." (The Artists of My Life, 1982)

Born in 1899, in Hungary, Brassaï worked in other media as well making drawings, paintings and sculpture. However his photography remains his most cherished work. Many of Brassaï's images of Paris could be seen in magazines, while others went unpublished until later in his career. His reputation as a photographer reached the United States in the mid-thirties. He has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and has published his work in numerous books, including The Secret of Paris in the 30's (1976), Henry Miller - Grandeur Nature (1975), Conversations avec Picasso (1964), Camera in Paris (1951) and Paris de Nuit (1933). He continued to work until his death in 1984.