Brassai (Gyula Halasz) Portrait of Picasso in His Studio at 23 rue de La Boëtie, Paris
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1932 Print Date 1950-60s
Dimensions 11-5/8 x 8-1/2 in. (295 x 216 mm)
Photo Country France
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
One of the most iconic portraits of the painter. Brassai's Faubourg St. Jacques stamp on verso. With some notes in the photographer's hand. Some light gouache used on the print for publication in Le Figaro Littéraire. Brassai said this was his first photograph of Picasso.
Gyula Halasz known as Brassai, studied painting at the Beaux Arts in Budapest before exploring photography in Paris from 1930. He was particularly interested in photographing at night and produced a book called 'Paris by Night' in 1933. It was during the compiling of this book that Brassai met Pablo Picasso.
He photographed the artist going about his daily life and produced from this his book 'Conversations with Picasso'.
See: Tucker, Brassai:The Eye of Paris, pl.75; Durrell, Brassai (MOMA), p.33; Brassai "Les artists de ma vie", p.157; Brassai "Picasso & Co", p.50; Musee Picasso Paris: "Picasso vu par Brassai" (Catalogue of the exhibition June/September 1987), p.40.
This photograph is considered one of the great iconic works by Brassai. In his book "Picasso & Co" Brassai tells the story of this work: At that time he was satisfied with a just a single take. They were in a room at the back of the studio which was dominated by the monumental canvas of "Jadwiga" by the Douanier Rousseau. Picasso had acquired this in 1908 in a junk shop and later discovered the artist himself. "Jadwiga" had been present at the celebrated banquet held by Picasso in Rouseau's honour at the Bateau Lavoir. Brassai goes on to say that Picasso was wearing an old jacket covered with stains. N otwithstanding his scruffy appearance, however, he was fascinated by the intense focus of his eyes, "Eyes of living coals". "Picasso looms up in it like a monolith, in all the compact, distilled strength of his full maturity. And everything is centered on the flashing intensity of that gaze, piercing you, subduing you, devouring you."
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