Reviews - What do customers think about Brassai, Paris (Taschen 25th Anniversary Special Editins)?
Best Single Collection of Brassai Images Jun 9, 2008
Everyone in the know knows that Taschen is a top-of-the-line publisher of Art and Photography books so naturally this one is beautifully done. However, even Taschen can make blunders. The flaps of the cover on this book are a dark shade of lipstick red with small black lettering. Ironically the blurb on these flaps describes Bendikt Taschen's twenty-fifth anniversary as an art book publisher. Because of the tiny black type on the dark red background it is virtually impossible to read about how great Taschen books are. Fortunately, this is the only flaw I found in this excellent book, it's just amusing that the mistake involves the text it does. At least the reader can read the testimonial on the back cover's flap because it is in larger black type and simply proclaims "The most exquisite books on the planet." Brassai didn't take his first pictures until 1929. In 1932 a journalist friend told Brassai he knew of a publisher who wanted to publish a book of photographs of Paris at night but had been unable to find a photographer who could handle the task. Brassai had already been exhaustively exploring exactly that subject with his camera. Later that same year in December 1932 Brassai's first book PARIS DE NUIT was published. Almost a dozen more books followed during his long life and career. It wasn't until 1976 that the more erotic pictures of Paris nightlife were published in Brassai's LE PARIS SECRET DES ANNEES 30, which is one of this reviewer's favorites. Those pictures that were also taken in the 1930's were too hot for a publisher to risk bankruptcy and or jail by publishing before 1976 when the obscenity laws were relaxed somewhat. This volume contains some pictures from all or at least most of Brassai's books including LES SCULPTURES DE PICASSO, GRAFFITI, PICASSO & CO., HENRY MILLER: GRANDEUR NATURE and THE ARTISTS OF MY LIFE. Brassai, who was also an accomplished artist in several mediums, was a member of the Bohemian Montparnasse or what I call the "Camelot of Art." He was friends with most of the artists and writers of the period. Much of his early photography was to document them and their work for publication. He was their contemporary and while his non-photography work is also masterful, it was photography that was to make him famous. Throughout his life he kept switching back and forth working in various art mediums. He loved the variety and couldn't, wouldn't really specialize in any one facet of art. He liked his freedom too much to only practice one of his passions. He was a master craftsman of several including writing. He often wrote articles to pay his bills especially after he first arrived from his native Transylvania where he was born in 1899. I apologize in advance but when I learned that Brassai was from Transylvania I could not keep myself from wondering about his fascination with photographing Paris after dark. He loved those pitch-black forays and at one time was familiar with the most unsavory and criminal characters populating the sleazy nighttime world of Paris. This was dangerous information to know because the local gangsters would rub out any stool pigeons they even thought might be spying for the police. Just maybe the man from Transylvania simply was not frightened of these mere mortals? Nobody else had previously done it and most photographers weren't up to the job or were too scared to attempt taking midnight pictures of gargoyles on the top of Norte Dame by the light of a full moon, street harlots and their pimps, muggers, murders and thieves, homosexual clubs and brothels of all sorts, heroin dens and any other unsavory activity including perverts trysting clandestinely in various infamous Paris Loos. That may have been where Brassai picked up his fascination with graffiti? He eventually turned that graffiti into a book, which must be something akin to turning a lemon into lemonade. This is the best Brassai book to own if you are only going to have one of his published photographic collections. Taschen really does do a remarkably good job of publishing art books and hopefully they will stay out of the red and in the black. Sorry about that folks, I couldn't resist. Have fun discovering the world of a remarkable photographer from what is now Hungry. (I'm resisting another bad pun.) This really is a very, very good, terrific collection of historically significant photographs.
A Real Renaissance Man May 23, 2008
Brassaï is one of those indispensable artists, which rarely come along every 50 years or so. Photographer, writer, painter, film maker, he recorded for us what must have been the most fruitful era for art, in the most fruitful place for art: Paris. He knew everyone from the dadaists to the surrealists and the cubists. He formed an uneasy friendship with Picasso, which resulted on his book My Conversations With Picasso, a first hand account of the comings and goings in the artist's life and studio, that I highly recommend. But it is as a photographer that he excels, providing for us unforgettable images of the city that he loved. Paris by Night, one of his colections of photos, gives us the wanderings about, of an artist and his camera at a time at which the city is at it's most beautiful, without any other equipment than a tripod to hold his camera steady. This book also includes The Secret Paris and a wonderful section of artis's portraits: Dalí, Picasso, Matisse and many others.
great collection! May 15, 2008
i was really happy with this book. there is some great text which accompanies the images that i had not read before. overall, i totally recommend! i love brassai and i have only seen a couple of his books that are better.