Artist Brassai

Brassai (Gyula Halasz) was a prolific artist, sculptor, filmmaker, photographer, writer…modern day renaissance man-whose work is still marvelled and greatly admired at to this day. He was born in Romania (what was then the pre-World War I Austro-Hungarian empire) on September 9, 1899 to a Hungarian father and an Armenian mother. At a very young age, his father moved the family to France to teach literature (where later Brassai would later spend the rest of his life doing what he loved almost more than anything else: his art). Later, Brassai studied painting and sculpture at a fine arts school in Budapest, and then at a fine arts school in Berlin (1920), where he also worked as a journalist. This early education helped nurture and develop many of this great artist’s latent artistic skills, paving the way for what would be decades of contribution as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.

He arrived to stay in France in the early 1920’s, immersing himself in the French language and culture. Dwelling in an artist’s quarter and working as a journalist, he soon became friends with the likes of one of the great 20th century writers, Henry Miller, then a member of “the lost generation” (the lost generation was a group of primarily American intellectuals, writers and poets who fled to the Bohemian lifestyle of France during the early post WW I era).

As the years went by, he started taking an incredible series of photographs of the two sides of Paris: the seedier side and the high-society side, including many prominent artists such as Salvador Dali and Picasso. This startling contrast of images led him to early fame, including a noteworthy mention by his life long friend, Henry Miller. All of this eventually led to international fame, his work being showcased in such prominent places as New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

This prolific artist continued working until his death in 1984-providing an immense body of work in sculptures, photographs, novels, films and paintings. Sixteen years after his death (2000), an exhibition of his works were held in the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France. Brassai, great artist, great thinker, genius, who used a camera instead of a microscope…one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.