Brassaï

Brassaï (bräsĪˈ) [key], 1899–1984, French photographer, b. Brassó, Hungary (now Braşov, Romania), as Gyula Halász. Particularly known for his nightime photographs of Paris, he studied art in Hungary and Germany before moving (1924) to that city. There he associated with Picasso, Braque, Miró, and other seminal modern artists. Fascinated by street life, Brassaï turned to photography to depict it, capturing on film artists, prostitutes, criminals, entertainers, and others on society's margins. Published in his first book, Paris after Dark (1933, tr. 1987, repr. as Paris by Night, 2001), and in Voluptés de Paris (1935), the photos earned him a succès de scandale and an international reputation. In addition to the city's low life, he also portrayed its vital daily life and its sparkling high life. Widely exhibited, his work also appears in several books, e.g., Henry Miller: The Paris Years (1975, tr. 1995) and Artists of My Life (1982).

See his Letters to My Parents (1980, tr. 1997); studies by M. Warehime (1998), A. W. Tucker and R. Howard (1999), and A. Lionel-Marie, ed. (2000).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Photography: Biographies