• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1985


    11 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 417

    BRASSAÏ (1899-1984)

    Couple d'amoureux dans un petit café, quartier Italie, c. 1932

    Price Realised  


    BRASSAÏ (1899-1984)
    Couple d'amoureux dans un petit café, quartier Italie, c. 1932
    gelatin silver print, printed after 1967
    signed in ink, titled and numbered 'Pl.78' in pencil and copyright credit stamp (on the verso)
    11½ x 9 3/8in. (29.2 x 23.8cm.)

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    Brassaï took up photography in order to capture the Paris nightlife that endlessly fascinated him. With fresh eyes, he rarely had to wander far from home to expose the two dozen heavy glass-plate negatives he was able to carry in his camera bag. The present lot was made in the café on the ground floor of the hotel where he lived in a quartier populaire near the Place d'Italie. Brassaï had an extraordinary talent for photographing people in interiors lit by shocking and disruptive flash powder in a way that looks entirely spontaneous and natural. This is a deceptively simple image. Its multiple reflections suggest the many facets of love and courtship.

    The present lot is from a unique collection of Brassaï prints acquired directly from Madame Gilberte Brassaï. The following four lots and lots 448-449, all from the same collection, lead us deeper into Brassaï's vision of the Parisian demi-monde.


    Gilberte Brassaï to the present owner


    Brassaï and Miller, 'Paris la Nuit,' Evergreen Review, vol. 6, no. 24, May-June 1962, p. 14; Brassaï, Le Paris Secret des Années Trente, Chêne, 1976, p. 71; Brassaï: The Eye of Paris, Houk Friedman, 1993, p. 3; Sayag and Lionel-Marie, Brassaï: The Monograph, Little, Brown and Co., 2000, p. 85