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  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    Paris (made)
    Vaucluse (Galerie Les Contards, Lacoste, published)

  • Date:

    1967 (published)

    1934-5 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print from etched glass plate

  • Credit Line:

    Bequest of Gilberte Boyer Brassaï

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

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

Brassaï made these images between 1934-5, inspired by a two-year collaboration with the artist Pablo Picasso. He launched an exploration into engraving techniques, and made these works by engraving directly onto photographic glass plates. This was a departure from the style of straight photography that he had employed in his work until this point. It was not unusual, particularly in the 1930s, for Brassaï to use angles and vantage points to create an abstracted composition, but physical intervention, such as is seen in this work, was new. It evokes the ideology of European artistic movements of the time, particularly Surrealism and Cubism, which Brassaï would have been exposed to during his time with Picasso. He experimented with obscuring the original images to varying degrees, with the results ranging from the representational to the entirely abstract. A selection of the work was published in portfolio form in 1967, along with an accompanying essay. The title ‘Transmutations’ makes reference to the mutation of the body as a consequence of the intervention on the photograph.

Physical description

White portfolio page, folded on the left edge, featuring an image on the inner right page. The image depicts a female nude, whose body has been altered through a series of markings. The image is split vertically down the centre, with the left side showing a breast, her hip jutting out, stocking-like markings and her face with an added arm reaching over her neck. The right side shows a less representational version, with a representational arm, a guitar-shaped body and no recognisable leg. The title is printed on the front page: 'III / odalisque'.

Place of Origin

Paris (made)
Vaucluse (Galerie Les Contards, Lacoste, published)


1967 (published)

1934-5 (made)


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

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print from etched glass plate


Width: 28.9 cm sheet, folded, Height: 38 cm sheet, folded, Width: 57.6 cm sheet, open, Height: 38 cm sheet, open

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 from the portfolio 'Transmutations', published 1967. 'Odalisque', image 3 of 12, 1934-5, gelatin silver print

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

Alain Sayag, Annick Lionel-Marie, Brassaï: No Ordinary Eyes, London: Thames & Hudson (2000), pp213-221

Production Note

An odalisque was a Turkish concubine in Turkish harems, particularly the concubines in the house of the Ottoman sultan.


Photographic paper


Gelatin silver process; Photography




Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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