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Photo of the Week #187

Eugène Atget

Warm toned photograph of a classical marble bust in front of a wooded background.

Versailles, Grand Trianon (Cour de Parc), 1902


April 4, 2022
Although Atget’s legacy will always lie within the history of photography, he first studied drama in Paris and worked as an actor for a period after. This formative experience in the theater found its clearest expression in his photography of the statuary at Versailles. His framing of statues often feels like the staging of actors in a classical play.

This photograph was taken on the grounds of Trianon, one of the subsidiary properties at Versailles, which was conceived of as a more informal retreat from the main palace. Sculptures like the one seen here were scattered along the wooded paths connecting the residences with other buildings on the property, such as the theater where the queen would entertain her guests with stage performances.

Prints of this classic work are also in the collections of MoMA and The Art Institute of Chicago.