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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (photographed)

  • Date:

    c.1932 (photographed)
    c.1940 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cyanotype. The only known example of Brassaï using the cyanotype process.

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Gilberte Boyer Brassaï

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 913, box N

Brassaï was born in 1899 as Gyula Halász in the Transylvanian town of Brassó. He grew up in Budapest and spent the early 1920s in Berlin, training as a painter and working as a journalist. He moved to Paris in 1924, where he stayed until his death in 1984. He took up photography in Paris initially to support his written journalism, though he soon committed himself to a solely photographic practice. Brassaï is most well-known for his images of Parisian life, featuring brothels, prostitutes, city streets, architecture and high society alike. His first book, ‘Paris by Night’, was published in 1933 and established his reputation as a serious photographer.

His depictions of Paris at night present eerie streets, almost resembling a smoky ‘film-noir’ set. In their suggestions of a mysterious underworld, his photographs caught the attention of André Breton and the Surrealists, which led to a ten year association with the group; although, Brassaï was careful to never call himself a Surrealist and maintained that his photographs were objective.

Physical description

Blue toned photograph of wooden scaffolding. A white and grey cat sits on the scaffolding structure in the lower half of the image.

Place of Origin

Paris (photographed)


c.1932 (photographed)
c.1940 (printed)


Brassaï Guyula Hálasz, born 1899 - died 1984 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Cyanotype. The only known example of Brassaï using the cyanotype process.

Marks and inscriptions

Bottom right, black ink: 'Brassaï' [underlined, signature]

Top centre, pencil: 'Brassaï - Paris - / An. 255 / Animaux'
Top right, pencil: '23.5x29.5'
Centre, pencil: 'Tel' [upside down]
Centre, blue ink: '58'
Bottom right, stamped in black ink: 'SUCCESSION / BRASSAÏ / ESTATE'
Animals (Animaux)


Width: 23.2 cm image, Height: 29.2 cm image

Object history note

This object came to the museum as part of a bequest of 99 photographs by Brassaï from his widow, Madame Gilberte Boyer.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Brassaï, 'L'échafaudage [scaffolding]', c.1932, cyanotype made c.1940

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Brassaï, 1899-1984 (sale catalogue), Paris, France: Drouot-Montaigne, 2006, p305


Photographic paper


Cyanotype; Photography

Subjects depicted

Cat; Scaffolding


Photographs; Animals and Wildlife; Architecture


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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