17 November 2018 – 18 February 2019
SFOMA, San Francisco
Best known for his provocative and enigmatic images of Parisian life between the two world wars, the photographer Brassaï (born Gyula Halász) is one of the most prominent figures of twentieth-century photography. Called “the eye of Paris” by his friend Henry Miller, Brassaï’s work both celebrates and reveals the complexities and hidden sides of French society and culture.
This thematic survey of his career focuses on his celebrated depictions of 1930s Paris, where he photographed lovers, prostitutes, workers, and gatherings in cafés, bars, and dance halls with an intimate candor that’s still striking today. The exhibition also includes powerful portraits of his artist friends—Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dalí, and Henri Matisse, among others—and the city’s creative avant-garde. Brassaï brings together outstanding prints of the artist’s best work along with many never-before-seen photographs.
Brassaï, Kiki de Montparnasse and her Friends, Thérèse Treize and Lily, ca. 1932; Estate Brassaï Succession, Paris; © Estate Brassaï Succession, Paris.
Brassaï is organized by Fundación MAPFRE in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.