Eugène Atget created an encyclopedic, idiosyncratic lived portrait of Paris on the cusp of the modern era. His career began around 1890, when he hung a shingle reading, “Documents pour artistes” (Documents for artists) on a studio door in Paris’s fifth arrondissement.
Atget (French, 1856-1927) worked as a sailor, actor, and painter before turning to photography at the age of 41. He was completely self-taught and made a meager living by selling photographs to architects, painters, stage designers and editors. Although today he is thought of as one of the most influential photographer of the 20th century, it was not until after his death in 1927 that his work became appreciated and this was due in large part to the efforts of Berenice Abbott who helped to promote and preserve his work. Today his work can be found in collections worldwide.