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Le pompier de service aux Folies-Bergère

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (photographed)

  • Date:

    1932 (photographed)
    c1950 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Gilberte Boyer Brassaï

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

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.

Some of Brassaï’s most iconic images depict the scandalous nightlife in bars and brothels, exposing the city’s debaucherous underbelly. Scenes of prostitution, sexual interactions and nudity are not uncommon and present an almost practical view of the working women. Brassaï also frequented dance halls, depicting performers, ethnic minorities and members of the LGBTQ community. Overall, the indiscriminate scope of Brassaï’s photographs present this previously unseen side of Paris alongside more traditional subject matter such as society functions and opera dancers. His ability to document a complete cross section of society provides an authentic glimpse into Parisian life in the 1930s.

Physical description

Black and white photograph of a uniformed man leaning forwards with his arm around a woman, nude except for her soes and a pair of bloomers. Their faces not visible. They lean against a wall full of hanging ropes, and a metal helmet is clearly visible in the centre of the image.

Place of Origin

Paris (photographed)


1932 (photographed)
c1950 (printed)


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

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Marks and inscriptions

Top centre, pencil: '40x50.5'
Top right, pencil: 'Pl. 730'
Bottom left, stamped in black ink: 'SUCCESSION / *BRASSAI* / ESTATE'
Bottom right, red ink: 'PP.730 / Folies-Bergères [underlined]


Width: 40 cm image, Height: 50.6 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, 'Le pompier de service aux Folies-Bergère' [Fireman at the Folie-Bergère], Paris, France, 1932, printed c.1950, gelatin silver print

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

Brassaï, Camera in Paris, London: Focal Press (1949), p49
Brassaï, 1899-1984 (sale catalogue), Paris, France: Drouot-Montaigne, 2006, p443
Brassaï, Voluptés de Paris, Paris: Paris Publications (1934), p31
Alan Sayag and Annick Lionnel-Marie [ed.s], Brassaï: No Ordinary Eyes London: Thames & Hudson (2000), p.93
Brassaï, Le Paris secret des années 30, Paris: Gallimard (1976), p.149


Photographic paper


Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Music hall; Performer




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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