Paris

Artists and writers from around the world found their way to Paris, where they created some of their most significant work. Among those in the city were Blaise Cendrars (Swiss), Marc Chagall (Russian), Sonia Delaunay (Russian), Amedeo Modigliani (Italian), Francis Picabia (Spanish), Pablo Picasso (Spanish), Man Ray (American), Chaïm Soutine (Russian), and Tristan Tzara (Romanian). The modernity of Paris was emblematized by the Eiffel Tower, not only because of its still-novel metal structure but also because of the radio antenna at its top. The new medium of the radio, or Télégraphie sans fil, fascinated writers and artists alike as its invisible waves connected with the world. As a red silhouette at the bottom of Sonia Delaunay’s images for La Prose du transsibérien et de la petite Jehanne de France, as a metallic grid in Fernand Léger’s depiction of the end of the world in La Fin du monde filmée par l’ange N.-D., as a shepherdess tending her flock of Parisian bridges, as envisioned by Guillaume Apollinaire in the poem “Zone”—the Eiffel Tower became the sign of Paris’ modernity.

In Apollinaire’s “Zone,” the description of everyday life in Paris is a medley of powerful impressions: cars, newspapers, airplanes, billboards, cafés, crowds. However, the title also implies that the modern urban experience is somehow enclosed within the circumference of this imaginary zone, or is like the Zone of Paris photographed by Eugène Atget: a no man’s land full of the city’s marginalized people and material garbage. The poet’s modern city seems to be an indeterminate area in which everyday experience is transformed into a work of art.

Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Mannequin, Avenue des Gobelins, 1927, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Saint-Cloud, ca. 1921, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927
Vénus par Legros, Versailles, 1923–24
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
La Villette, fille publique faisant le quart, 19e, 1921, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Corsets, boulevard de Strasbourg, 1912, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Coin du Marché des Carmes, Place Maubert, 1911, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Fête du Trône – Le Géant, 1925, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927 Printed by Berenice Abbott, American, 1898–1991
Porte de Montreuil, Zoniers, 1913, printed 1930s
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Eugène Atget, French, 1857–1927
Voitures, marché des Patriarches, rue Mouffetard , 1910
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Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973 Published by Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler, German, 1884–1979
Nature morte: compotier (Still Life: Fruit Dish), 1909, published 1911
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Amedeo Modigliani, Italian, 1884 - 1920
Jean Cocteau, 1916
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Marc Chagall, French, born in Belarus, 1887–1985
The Poet, 1919
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Chaïm Soutine, Russian, active in France, 1893–1943
Hanging Turkey, ca. 1925
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Pablo Picasso, Spanish, 1881–1973 Printed by Roger Lacourière, French, 1892–1966
La Minotauromachie (Minotauromachy), 1935
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Blaise Cendrars, French, 1887–1961 Fernand Léger, French, 1881–1955
La fin du monde filmée par l’Ange N.-D, Paris: 1919
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Man Ray, American, 1890–1976
Revolving Doors, Paris: 1926
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