Fundación Mapfre, Madrid
27 May – 27 August 2011
Paseo de Recoletos, 23, Madrid
+34 915 816 100

For the first time in Madrid, the work of the French photographer Eugène Atget (Libourne, 1857 – Paris, 1927), a unique master whose work made a crucial contribution to the history of photography, being shown at the city’s Fundación Mapfre. Atget’s enigmatic images inspired numerous artists over the course of the 20th century and continue to do so today.

The exhibition’s curators looked at more than 4,000 photographs by Atget, from which they selected 228. All taken between 1898 and 1924, they offer a portrait of the city of Paris and its outskirts and clearly reveal the evolution of Atget’s work.

Eugène Atget did not train as a photographer and only turned to it in order to try to earn a living, having been unsuccessful in other fields. He started out in the provinces but soon arrived in Paris where he lived for the rest of his life. Atget worked anonymously and was considered a commercial photographer who sold what he called “documents for artists”, i.e. photographs of landscapes, close-up shots, genre scenes and other details that painters could use as models. Nonetheless, as soon as Atget turned his attention to photographing the streets of Paris, his work attracted the attention of leading institutions such as the Musée Carnavalet and the Bibliothèque Nationale, which became his principal clients.