From Publishers Weekly
Paris at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries is almost synonymous with the massive photographic record of Eugène Atget, whose achievement in capturing the entire range of life and location in the great capital—from prostitute to aristocrat, from stable to palace—is rivaled only by Balzac. Graced with excellent and well-chosen reproductions, including 10 that have never appeared before, Barberie's book is a keen and subtle overview of the photographer's work. And it is conveniently published to coincide with this fall's much-anticipated Atget retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The show is derived from two important collections: that of fellow photographer Berenice Abbott, who purchased the contents of Atget's studio at his death in 1927, and that of dealer Julien Levy, who purchased thousands of images from Abbott and helped her establish Atget as a central figure in modernism. Using the two collectors as a way into Atget's world, Barberie contrasts their viewpoints, tracing how Abbott could promote Atget as a "great 'styleless' photographer who recorded the world around him with humility" while Levy praised him as a "proto-Surrealist." The additional section on photographic materials (written by Beth A. Price and Ken Sutherland) bolster's the book's air of definitiveness with its fascinating, if technical, details on printing, binders, etc. In short, this book makes an elegant shelf mate for the Taschen volume that is beloved by Francophiles around the world. (Oct.)
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About the Author
Peter Barberie is the Horace W. Goldsmith Fellow in Photography, Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.