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Cassic Brassaï shots

Brassaï, the pseudonym of Gyula Halász, (9 September 1899 – 8 July 1984), was a hugely influential Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to fame in France in the 1920’s.

Halász was born in Brassó, Romania, to a Hungarian father and an Armenian mother.At age three, his family moved to live in Paris, France for a year, while his father, a Professor of Literature, taught at the Sorbonne.

As a young man, Gyula studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, before joining a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the First World War.

In 1920 Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist and studied at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1924 he moved to Paris where he would live the rest of his life. Living amongst the huge gathering of artists in the Montparnasse Quarter, he took a job as a journalist. He soon became friends with Henry Miller, Léon-Paul Fargue, and the poet Jacques Prévert.

Gyula Halász’s job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography.

He later wrote that photography allowed him to seize the Paris night and the beauty of the streets and gardens, in rain and mist.

Using the name of his birthplace, Gyula Halász went by the pseudonym “Brassaï,” which means “from Brasso.” As Brassaï, he captured the essence of the city in his photographs, publishing his first book of photographs in 1933 titled “Paris de nuit” (“Paris by Night”).

His efforts met with great success, resulting in his being called “the eye of Paris” in an essay by his friend Henry Miller.

In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, he also provided scenes from the life of the city’s high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He photographed many of his great artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, plus many of the prominent writers of his time such as Jean Genet, Henri Michaux and others.

Brassaï was a founding member of the Rapho agency, created in Paris by Charles Rado in 1933. His photographs brought him international fame leading to a one-man show in the United States at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art.

As well as a photographer, Brassaï was the author of seventeen books and numerous articles, including the 1948 novel Histoire de Marie, which was published with an introduction by Henry Miller. His Letters to My Parents and Conversations with Picasso, have been translated into English and published by the University of Chicago Press.

After 1961, when he stopped taking photographs, Brassaï concentrated his considerable energy on sculpting in stone and bronze. Several tapestries were made from his designs based on his photographs of graffiti.

Brassaï died on 7 July 1984 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes, in the south of France and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris.

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March 23, 2009 - Posted by | Brassaï, _ART, _PHOTOGRAPHY

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