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BRASSAÏ, & Paul Morand.

Paris de Nuit.

60 photos inédites de Brassaï, publiées dans la Collection "Réalités" sous la direction de J. Bernier.

Paris: Édition Arts et Métiers Graphiques, 1933 [1932] Stock Code: 142446
£7,500.00
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Inscribed by Brassaï

First edition, first printing, of the photographer's first publication, presentation copy inscribed on the title page to his Parisian host "À Monsieur Gaston Robbe, mes hommages cordiaux, Brassaï Halász, Paris 1932".

Gaston Robbe was the owner of the Hotel Des Terrasses in Paris, where Brassaï had established himself in the early 1930s while he was "prowling the streets photographing the barflies, whores and homosexuals who were his subjects in 'Paris de Nuit' (which shocked the bourgeoisie and nearly everyone else when it was published in 1933)" (Green). In a letter to his parents dated 18 September 1932, Brassaï explains that he had been looking for another atelier were to set up his working space, but that "not one was satisfactory. Monsieur Robbe, the patron, and his daughter, Gilberte, are doing their utmost to make me stay in the hotel longer. I temporarily solved the problem by renting a second room (across from the first) that I intend to use as a laboratory" (Laki). The Robbes' efforts to keep the artist under their roof does not appear to have been financially motivated as Poirier notes that "the owner, Monsieur Robbe, seemed quite understanding about artists having irregular incomes. Moreover, he had a charming daughter who had a weak spot for Gyula" (p. 52). The cordiality between them seem genuine and when Brassaï wrote, from Cannes, to his parents in October 1940 to reassure them on his whereabouts, he conidered the possibility of a return to Paris, noting that "if the flat costs too much I'll leave it and move to the Hôtel des Terrasses (if Mr. Robbe is still there)" (Laki).

A lovely copy of this work in which Brassaï showcases his mastery "at drawing luminosity from the darkness. The swaths of wet paving stones featured on the covers and endpapers of Paris de Nuit gleam like pale beacons in the streetlight. Inside, Brassaï explores the city, beginning with its broad vistas and grand public spaces and gradually moving into the demimonde he knew so intimately" (Roth, p. 76).

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Description

Quarto. Spiral bound monochrome photographic wrappers, titles on front cover in red.

Illustrations

Illustrated with 62 full-page gravure plates, and 2 double-page plates as endpapers.

Condition

Minor wear to extremities, the wrappers otherwise bright, faint damp stains to bottom edge of the first 4 pp. of text, else internally fresh and clean; a superb copy of a notably delicate publication.

Bibliography

Michelle Green, "Ghost at the Banquet", New York Times, 26 November, 1995, Section 7, p. 33; Peter Laki (trans.), "Brassai: Letters to My Parents", 1997, pp. 201 and 227, letters 72 and 89; Parr & Badger I, 134; Roth, p. 76.

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