One of the most radically abstract of Brassaï’s nudes, this image was published in 1933 in the inaugural issue of the avant-garde magazine Minotaure. With the figure’s head and legs cut off by the picture’s edges, the twisting, truncated torso seems to float in space like an apparition—an ambiguous, organic form with an uncanny resemblance to a phallus. This transformation of the female figure into a fetish object is a hallmark of Surrealism that reflects the important influence of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory on European art of the early twentieth century.
Inscription: Artist's stamp in purple ink, verso BR: "PHOTO BRASSAI // COPYRIGHT BY // GYULA HALASZ // 74, RUE DE LA GLACIERE // PARIS (18e); numerous markings in pencil, recto OA
Madame Brassai, Paris; [Edywnn Houk Gallery, New York]; Private Collection, New York; [Edywnn Houk Gallery, New York]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.
Vancouver Art Gallery. "The Colour of My Dreams: Surrealism and Revolution in Art," May 28, 2011–October 2, 2011.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Naked before the Camera," March 27, 2012–September 9, 2012.
Ades, Dawn, ed. The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art. Vancouver: Vancouver Art Gallery, 2011. p. 303.