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August 17, 2013

Wonderful Photos of New York in 1957 by Brassaï

Brassaï (9 September 1899 — 8 July 1984) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to international fame in France in the 20th century. He was one of the numerous Hungarian artists who flourished in Paris beginning between the World Wars.

A rare discovery of more than 150 previously unpublished photographs in black and white and in color, from a legendary photographer. Despite strong personal and professional ties in the U.S.--Henry Miller, Harper’s Bazaar’s Carmel Snow, and Edward Steichen, who featured Brassai's work in many MoMA exhibitions--Brassai remained reticent about travel to the U.S. until 1957 when Holiday magazine offered generous compensation (and artistic freedom) to photograph New York and Louisiana.

From the first symbolic image of this voyage--the Statue of Liberty appearing over the ship's prow--Brassai came under the spell of America and his photographs innately captured his new perspective. In New York, he was captivated by the graphic skyscrapers and the rhythmic to-ing and fro-ing of the crowds. Unlike his static photographs of Paris--posing prostitutes, embracing lovers, sleeping street people--here he captured sequences of movement--children playing, fashionable women parading by, or the effects of light filtering through the urban architecture.











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