If it’s Friday, it must be France …
Yes, I know it’s Sunday and this post is a bit late. Désolée!
We dashed off for a few days to visit the Gulf side, play some tennis and bridge and relax in the warm and hilarious company of dear friends. I have to admit it was good to break my
obsessive and all-consuming writing routine. Please forgive my tardiness but I think you will agree this post was worth waiting for.
As you know, Bonjour Paris is one of my favourite websites and the following article by Ashlee Girdner from the most recent edition took my breath away. I was SO excited to see it there! Don’t you love those kind of surprises?
The man known as Brassai, arrived in Paris from Hungary in 1924 and began to associate with the avant-garde artist community, in particular with Picasso and the Parisian surrealist circles. His proclivity to work at night produces a combination of unique authenticity and surrealism. I treasure his book Paris By Night, which can be found here on Amazon.
A multi-talented artist he was truly a pioneer in the art of candid photography.
Even if you are not a photography buff I think you will appreciate the reminder of the times evoked here. I hope so. Here’s how this beautifully-written article begins. Enjoy!
Brassai: Capturing the Beautiful Underbelly of Paris
By Ashlee Girdner
There is a jovial group of youths sitting in the shadows of an ambiguous dance hall. Their expressions show the serenity that only absinthe and rich French wine can provide.
There are dark, mist-filled streets that only the seediest creatures of the world could populate. The whores of Pigalle lurk, like deep-sea creatures with luminescent lures to attract prey on the streets of Paris.
Pablo Picasso creeps like a cat along the walls of his studio, studying his newest sculptures with his calloused hands.
The cafes of Montparnasse in the 30’s are crowded with the highest creative minds of the 20th century. Full of ambition and hunger, men like Jean Cocteau and Ernest Hemingway write opuses and operas. There to capture every sparkling, surreal moment is a heavy browed man, stalking about the filthy rooms. This man is Gyula Halasz, otherwise known as Brassai.
To read the rest of the excellent article about this masterful artist, please click here. You’ll be very glad you did!
How about you? Are you familiar with Brassai’s work? Do you share a fascination for Les Années Folles, as I do? Do you find his subject matter too gritty at times? Do we need to see all sides of life captured forever on film?