Hungarian-French photographer and artist, Brassaï moved to Paris in 1924. He often wandered the dim, foggy streets of the French capital at night, obsessively photographing the people and the streets of Paris. His first collection of photographs appeared in his 1933 book Paris de nuit (Paris by night) and earned him the nickname “the eye of Paris” by author and friend, Henry Miller.

Accidental finds

Among many of his obsessions, Brassaï spent more than twenty five years recording the marks, signs and traced left on the walls by the city’s inhabitants. These ‘trouvailles’ or ‘accidental finds’ were seen by the artist as “one of the most powerful and authentic expressions of art”. The resulting Graffiti series consisted of over five hundred photographs, systematically taken and recorded by Brassaï and some of these appeared in his 1961 book Graffiti.

Brassai - Graffiti- Free Photography Exhibition at Centre Pompidou, Paris | Urban Mishmash
BRASSAÏ, Untitled, from the Graffiti series [Animals], 1933.
© Estate Brassaï – RMN-Grand Palais / © Centre Pompidou/Dist. RMN-GP/ Adam Rzepka

Centre Pompidou’s beautiful little exhibition presents a selection of photographs from the Graffiti series, some of them little-known and previously unseen, in the museum’s Galerie de photographs. Walking into this cleverly-lit space gives one the impression of accidentally stumbling across a secret place full of mysterious relics of a bygone era.


Centre Pompidou

Place Georges Pompidou
75004 Paris

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