Fine Art

The Female Gaze: Masterworks of French Photography

portrait-of-dora-maar-1936-by-man-ray1Man Ray, Portrait of Dora Maar, 1936.

The interplay between male and female photographers is evidenced in the exhibition in Man Ray’s 1936 Portrait of Dora Maar, as well as by Maar’s Nude with Mirror, 1938, which was clearly influenced by surrealistic nudes done by Brassai and Man Ray.

Fans of Cartier-Bresson, Brassai, Atget, Lartigue, and Man Ray will not be disappointed. They will be enraptured. Here is tout France on a silver-gelatin platter, from the water lilies of Versailles to the brothels of Paris, from high society to street thugs, from gentility to depravity. My personal favorite? Romanian-born Brassai, a self-described nocturnal creature who roamed the streets of Paris at night in the company of street gangs who lifted his wallet. Brassai’s Two Toughs in Big Albert’s Gang, 1931, could be a still from a Brian de Palma film. I was intrigued by Brassai’s Transmutations, 1934-35, a technique of engraving onto his glass negatives, inspired by his two-year collaboration with Picasso. The result reflects Picasso’s cubist and surreal imagery.

Although Paris is the focal point of the exhibition, some of the images take a geographical leap.  Included are Cartier-Bresson photos of London, Seville, Peking, Shangai, Kashmir, Sumatra, Germany, Harlem, and Boston. This movable feast will be on display at the Barnes Foundation through January 9, 2017.

If you go: Complementing Masterworks of French Photography, the Barnes will be offering this lecture:

Screening of Une Partie de Campagne, November 21.



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