History of Modern France

The Third French Republic 1870-1940. Part 9


Zoom lecture



12 January 2022

Andre Kertész, The Eiffel Tower, 1933

Paris Photographed:

From Atget to Cartier-Bresson 1920-1939

with Chris Boïcos 

As we saw in the two lectures devoted by Sylvie Koneski to the intrepid women photographers, French and foreign, who made Paris their base in the the 1920s and 1930s, Paris of this era was very much at the heart of the development of early modern photography.


Our present lecture will explore how the professional photographers of the period depicted the city itself - its streets, architecture, inhabitants and night spots. Some of the most iconic images of Paris, that have shaped the vision of the city for future generations and still linger in our collective memory today, were indeed produced between 1920 and 1939.


A tender, whimsical, often nostalgic vision of the city emerges from the photography of this era, as we will see in the images of Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roger Schall, Brassai, André Kertész and more.

Brassaï, Couple in a Café near Place d'Italie, c. 1932

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