Brassaï. February 20–May 13, 2018. Sala Fundación MAPFRE, Casa Garriga i Nogués, Barcelona – Spain.

Fundación MAPFRE presents Brassaï, anthological exhibition produced by Fundación MAPFRE and curated by Peter Galassi, which aims to recover and praise the valuable legacy of this extraordinary photographer considered to be one of the most influential figures of 20th century photography.

In the 1920s and 1930s, pioneering photographers in Europe and America launched a new tradition based on an innovative recognition of the artistic potential of ordinary, descriptive photographs. They discovered that these plain images could articulate a relationship between a person and the world, redefining the identity and greatly enriching the potential of their medium as an art.

One of these pioneers was Brassaï (1899-1984), who began making photographs in 1929 and was extremely active in the 1930s. His principal subject was the city of Paris: its monuments, quaint corners and everyday life, and above all the city after dark -his book Paris de nuit, published at the end of 1932, made him well known. He was especially fascinated by what Parisians called les bas-fonds, a world which was both a reality and an elaborate myth that had been cultivated in literature and the visual arts. Indeed, Brassaï’s great achievement was to reinvigorate this rich mythology by transposing it to the fresh medium of photography at its most visceral and immediate.

This exhibition includes a handful of drawings and one sculpture (despite the creative élan of his photography of the 1930s, he never abandoned his attachment to the traditional arts), but it is devoted to Brassaï’s achievement as an artist in photography.

It has drawn on works on loan from the following institutional collections and private lenders: Estate Brassaï Succession (Paris), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museum of Fine Arts (Houston), Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Art Institute of Chicago, Nicholas and Susan Priztker, David Dechman and Michel Mercure, Philadelphia Museum of Art, ISelf Collection (London) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.