• The Miller-Plummer Collection  auction at Christies

    Sale 2279

    The Miller-Plummer Collection of Photographs

    8 October 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 585

    EUGENE ATGET (1857-1927)

    St. Cloud, 1922

    Price Realised  


    EUGENE ATGET (1857-1927)
    St. Cloud, 1922
    arrowroot print
    titled, numbered '1159', annotated '17 bis' in pencil and credit stamp (on the verso)
    7 x 9 1/8in. (17.7 x 23.4cm.)

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    Atget photographed frequently in the Parc de St. Cloud (see lot 569) where he made some of the most evocative and memorable pictures of his career. Certainly, he knew the ruins of the Château de St. Cloud before they were cleared away in 1891, and quite possibly he knew the Château before it was destroyed by fire during the Franco-Prussian war in 1870. With that sense of history in mind, Atget created the present haunting photograph on the very site of the absent structure. The sense of calm and stillness conveyed through the careful composition and sharp focus is absolute until the viewer notices the slight blurring of the delicate flowers at the exact center of the frame. The optical effect causes the whole picture to come alive as if by the stirring of ghosts. That Atget was first discovered by the surrealists comes as no surprise.

    This fine arrowroot print was acquired from the first deaccession from the esteemed Abbott-Levy Collection at the Museum of Modern Art. Arrowroot is used for sizing the paper rather than the more common rice starch. Generically called 'matte albumen' prints, arrowroot prints are highly prized by collectors for their deep rich tones and velvety matte surface.


    From the Estate of the artist;
    to Berenice Abbott;
    The Museum of Modern Art, New York;
    with Schoelkopf Gallery; acquired 1974-1975


    Atget's Vision, Edwynn Houk Gallery, 1981, p. 45; Particulars, pl. 107, p. 32; Twenty Years, 1979-1999: Essence, Galerie Zur Stockeregg, 1999, pl. 7


    George Eastman House, Rochester, New York, Particulars, 1983