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About the Author
Josiane Sartre is Conservateur gTnTrale de la bibliothFque du MusTe des Arts dTcoratifs in Paris, and director of the photographic collections. A specialist of the history of photography and as well as the history of architecture, she curated a major exhibition of work by the photographer Henri Le Secq in 1986.
The works of French photographer EugFne Atget (1857-1927) can be considered as prototypes for some of the great aesthetic movements (cubism, surrealism, conceptualism) that continue to influence modern and contemporary art. His detailed visual record of Paris and its environs were sold to painters to use as source material, and later to institutions dedicated to the preservation of the city's past. The BibliothFque des Arts DTcoratifs in Paris acquired nearly 1800 poetic images of decorative details such as boiseries, door knockers, staircase balustrades, garden ornaments, and magnificent plaster work from Atget's studio.
The selection of more than 300 works exquisitely reproduced in this volume were chosen not only for their documentary record of the decorative splendors of Paris, but also for their concentration on the subtleties of form and their stunning aesthetic power. Atget's continued use of a large format view camera and glass plate negatives, allowed for bigger negatives that resulted in fine details and richly toned images. His encyclopedic purpose and the simplicity of his method are so timeless that his work still fascinates today. The poetic impassivity of the images, the detailed beauty of their subjects, and the simple juxtaposition of their proportions will be an inspiration to all those interested in design and the decorative arts as well as those interested in the history of photography.