Paris is considered to be the cradle of photography. It was here that the technology was first made public – on August 19, 1839 – and instantly enthused the waiting world. Paris with its artists, scientists and craftsmen proved to be the ideal breeding ground for the medium. Moreover, from the outset the city itself was the subject for ambitious photographic projects. Without a doubt Paris is the most photographed city in the world. Above all, in the 20th century the metropolis on the Seine emerged as the starting point for important cycles regardless of whether photographing artists sought to confirm a myth or instead eyed it critically. Photography in 20th century Paris not only reflected important stages in modern art and cultural history but equally outlined the opportunities for photographic perception. The present exhibition, whose title is inspired by Henry Miller, sets out to demonstrate the latter by means of a fascinating tour.

Eyes on Paris shows how artists engaged in photography (French and immigrants alike) saw, experienced and captured Paris with the camera. The artists’ gaze oscillates between documentary interest and subjective perception, a chronicler’s duty and the projection of personal feelings. Around 400 photographic works by important representatives of 20th-century photography enter into a dialog with epoch-making books, portfolios or rare portfolio works. After all, no other city in the world has been the subject of as many outstanding publications as has Paris: from Atget to Ed van der Elsken, from Robert Doisneau to William Klein.

On around 1,000 square meters of exhibition space visitors can experience a tour of 20th-century Paris that repeatedly harbors surprises, and cross-references architecture and urban history, everyday culture and art practice. Scheduled to run for some four months the show can safely be considered the most ambitious project on the 20th-century photographic iconography of Paris.

With works by Eugène Atget, Laure Albin Guillot, Jane Evelyn Atwood, Stefania Beretta, Emmanuel Boudot-Lamotte, Brassaï, Mario von Bucovich, René Burri, Peter Cornelius, Robert Doisneau, Ed van der Elsken, Ilja Ehrenburg, Marc Foucault, Shinzo Fukuhara, Jean Claude Gautrand, René Groebli, Andreas Gursky, Ernst Hahn, Fritz Henle, Lucien Hervé, Roger Henrard, Candida Höfer, Birgit Hvidkjær, Pierre Jahan, Tore Johnson, Günes Karabuda, André Kertész, Johan van der Keuken, Ihei Kimura, William Klein, Germaine Krull, Andréas Lang, René Maltête, André Martin, Moï Ver, Patrice Molinard, Nicolas Moulin, Albert Monier, Jeanine Niepce, Pierre Peissi, René-Jacques, Bettina Rheims, Willy Ronis, Sanford H. Roth, Roger Schall, Jarret Schecter, Kishin Shinoyama, Otto Steinert, Louis Stettner, Christer Strömholm, Emmanuel Sougez, Romain Urhausen, Yvon, Thomas Zacharias.

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Video Catalog



A richly illustrated catalogue will be published by Hirmer Verlag, Munich. Hans-Michael Koetzle (Ed.): Eyes on Paris. Paris im Fotobuch 1890 bis heute, circa 400 pages, various illustrations, hardcover, circa 39,80 Euro The book won the German Photobook Award as the best photobook of Germany in 2011.