Avenue des Gobelins

Artist: Eugène Atget (French, Libourne 1857–1927 Paris)

Date: 1925

Medium: Gelatin silver print from glass negative

Dimensions: 21.9 x 17.3 cm (8 5/8 x 6 13/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.113


The apparent subject of this picture is the art of commercial display in Paris in 1925. But the reflection in the window muddles the issue, for it obscures the clothing and seems to animate the mannequins and place them in the street. The picture's transparent lamination of real and artificial, outdoor and indoor, fluid and static, shimmer and substance, dissolves traditional boundaries between fact and imagination. The more complex unities it proposed appealed greatly to the Surrealists.