|Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Eugène Atget: A Quiet Calling, on view November 6, 2014 through January 3, 2015. Drawn from a single private collection, the exhibition features 30 of Atget’s finest photographs that explore his ambitious, lifelong project to create a visible record of French culture. Including both iconic and previously unseen images, the works on view demonstrate how Atget’s poetic intuition and clarity of vision anticipated the sensibilities of modern art and ultimately yielded the most influential body of work produced by a single photographer in the 20th century. The public is invited to attend an opening reception on Thursday, November 6 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.
A self-trained, commercial photographer working in and around Paris for more than 30 years, Eugène Atget (1857–1927) considered himself a creator of documents, rather than an artist. He came to the medium in the late 1880s and sold his photographs of old houses, churches, streets, courtyards, doors, stairs, and other decorative motifs – “Documents pour artistes,” as indicated by the sign on his studio door – to painters, illustrators, engravers, and set designers for use as source material in their trades. Beginning in 1898, however, Atget turned his attention to the architecture and landscape of Old Paris and its environs. His single-handed efforts resulted in an urban portrait of approximately 10,000 images that eloquently captured the soul of the changing city. As Atget wrote in 1920: