Eugène Atget (French, 18571927)
Gelatin silver print; 14 1/2 x 11 1/4 in. (36.8 x 28.6 cm)
Purchase, Rogers Fund and Joyce and Robert Menschel and Harriette and Noel Levine Gifts, 1994 (1994.271)
In this headless mannequin, clothed in a simple white uniform, Atget recognized a modern version of the commedia dell'arte clown Gilles, depicted by the eighteenth-century painter Jean Antoine Watteau, for example. It was for the type of transforming vision seen in this picture, which is among the very last in Atget's lifelong exploration of Paris, that the artist's work was so enthusiastically embraced by the Surrealists.