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Brassaï in Paris: A Photographer’s Love Letter to the City of Light

1 minute read

It’s unlikely that any single artist has ever been — or ever will be — as intimately associated with Paris as the Hungarian-born photographer, writer and filmmaker Gyula Halász, known to the world as Brassaï. Through his gorgeous black-and-white portraits of Parisians in cafes, gardens and dance halls, Brassaï defined, and continues to define, an ideal of the City of Light that has lasted for generations. Countless people around the globe — when they think of the Paris of the 1930s and 1940s — envision the great, ancient city as Brassaï captured it through his artful lens.

On the Eiffel Tower’s 125th birthday — the grand emblem of the French capital opened on March 31, 1889 — LIFE.com presents a handful of pictures from a wonderful new book, Brassaï: For the Love of Paris (Flammarion).

As the mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë writes in his foreword to the book: “My heartfelt wish is that those who view these photographs lose themselves for a time in a Paris of chance encounters, made more loving, more alive than ever by Brassaï’s inquiring eye.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

The Eiffel Tower, 1932
The Eiffel Tower, 1932.© 2013, Brassaï Estate
In the Bistro, c. 1930–32.
In the Bistro, c. 1930–32.© 2013, Brassaï Estate
Hotel, Boulevard de Clichy, c. 1930–32.
Hotel, Boulevard de Clichy, c. 1930–32.© 2013, Brassaï Estate
Montmartre, 1932.
Montmartre, 1932.© 2013, Brassaï Estate
Nighttime at Longchamp, 1937.
Nighttime at Longchamp, 1937.© 2013, Brassaï Estate
Brassaï in his photo lab, 1932.
Brassaï in his photo lab, 1932.© 2013, Brassaï Estate

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