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Letter from Brassai about his new photography book "The Secret Paris of the Thirties" and his Upcoming Exhibition

Category: photo20
Item Number: 14264
Price: $800

Gyula Brassai [Halász]

Brassai, (Gyula Halász) major 20th century photographer known for his provocative images of a nocturnal Paris. Typed letter Signed "Brassai", in French, on Brassai’s personal stationary. 11-3/4" x 8-1/4" inches. Paris, September 9, 1976. The great photographer writes on the release of his new photography book "The Secret Paris of the Thirties" and his upcoming show at the Marlborough Gallery. Brassai writes in this letter on the publication of his new book. "My book, the Secret Paris of the Thirties (Pantheon Books) - is due out at the same time." This book was in many ways the culmination of Brassai's vision of Paris begun by his 1933 classic photography book, ‘Paris de Nuit’ (1933), which today is considered today to be one of the most important books on 20th century photography. Its widespread critical acclaim garnered Brassai with the nickname "the eye of Paris", originally coined by Henry Miller. However, it was not complete, as many pictures from his original series were excluded for being too risqué. Brassai's 1976 publication of “The Secret Paris of the 30s” finally allowed the great photographer to complete his vision of the 1930s Paris underworld. His subjects included bars, dives, night-clubs, one-night hotels, bordellos, and opium dens. He was known to enter rundown buildings and houses in the middle of the night, shock and frighten the occupants, just to see what view of Paris he might encounter through their open window. The photos in the book were accompanied by text in which Brassai described the extraordinary conditions under which he took his photographs. "I was inspired to become a photographer by my desire to translate all things that enchanted me in the nocturnal Paris I was experiencing." (The Secret Paris of the 30's, 1976) Brassai writes "As it happens I turned 77 today (9.9.1899). This short note is just to let you know we will be in New York from the 12th to the 28th of September, because I want to attend the opening of my show at the Marlbororough Gallery." The exhibition at New York’s Marlborough gallery was held in conjunction with the publication of his book "The Secret Paris of the Thirties" which is also mentioned in this letter. It was clearly an important event for Brassai, who had waited over 40 years to see his complete and unredacted vision of Paris nightlife revealed to the public. The photos of this exhibit, which are the same as the photos published in his book, represent the peak of Brassai's creative output during the years 1931-1932, at the beginning of his career and over 40 years before their eventual publication. Many of the photographs were new in the sense that they had not been published prior to this book or publicly exhibited prior to the Marlborough exhibition. Included were powerful images such as his 'Bijou of Montmartre.' Brassai has signed this letter in large bold purple marker "Brassai" with an underline. He has also added a handwritten postscript in large green marker "venir nous soutenir" which translates "come support us." A content rich letter discussing one of Brassai's most important publications as well as its corresponding exhibition. Folded twice through the center. In excellent condition with a large, bold, and colorful signature.

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