Eugène Atget (French, 18571927)
Silver print from glass negative; 7 x 8 15/16 in. (17.8 x 22.7 cm)
Gilman Collection, Purchase, Ann Tenenbaum and Thomas H. Lee Gift, 2005 (2005.100.133)
Atget's interest in the texture of old Parisin the animate, intimate air of places much lived inran counter to the prevailing popular taste for the Eiffel Tower, the Opéra, and other famous monuments and promenades. Characteristically, he never photographed the Champs-Élysées, though he did make one exposure on the avenue that extends it beyond the Arc de Triomphe, the Avenue de la Grande-Armée. Here, selecting an empty café bathed in early morning light and poised in readiness for the day's clientele, he managed to suggest the habits of the habitués, in absentia.