Brassaï

La Rue Quincampoix et ses Hotels De Passe, c.1932

Brassaï (1899-1984) was born Gyula Halász in Brasso, the Hungarian part of Romania, and after immigrating to Paris in 1924, changed his name to Brassaï  and began  working as a journalist. He took up photography in 1929 and within a few years, became one of France's most famous photographers. A unique chronicler of Paris in the twenties and thirties, he was dubbed the "eye of Paris" by Henry Miller.

 

Except for an interlude during World War II, Brassaï worked as a freelance magazine photographer and writer for publications including Minotaure, Verve, Coronet, Picture Post, and Harper's Bazaar. Through the late 1960's, he continued working with Harper's Bazaar, traveling extensively on assignment. Many of his photographs, made in England, Spain, the United States, and Brazil, were published in magazine articles during his lifetime, but are virtually unknown today.

 

The artist was awarded the first Grand Prix National de la Photographie in Paris (1978), the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (1974), and the Chevlier de l'Ordre de la Legion d' Honneur (1976). At the time of his death in 1984, Brassaï had published 17 books and hundreds of articles, and held numerous exhibitions of his photographs, sculpture, and drawings. His film, “Tant qu'il aura des betes”, 1955, won the prize for Most Original Film at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival.