About the author

[Gyula Halász] (Brassу [Brasov], 9 September 1899 – Paris, 7 July 1984)

The artist, a native of Brassу (now Brasov, Romania), left Hungary for Berlin as a young man. He worked as a journalist and enrolled in a course at the Kunstgewerbschule. He met the famous painter Lajos Tihanyi, who became a good friend. In 1923 he moved to Paris, where he lived until his death. On his arrival in Paris Brassaï showed no interest in photography. He worked as a journalist and a painter. He developed good contacts with other Hungarian emigres. In 1925, a friend introduced him to the artwork of Atget. He was so taken by the pictures that he always considered the Parisian photographer to be an exemplar. In 1926 he became acquainted with André Kertész, whom he accompanied on his photographic trips. André Kertész taught him the basics of photography, but it was only in 1929 that Brassaï  began taking general photographs. His Paris de nuit album (1931) attained international success. In his heart he always wanted to be an artist; this explains his use of the pseudonym Brassaï, which he used for his photographic work, while the name Halász was used for his paintings, which he hoped would establish his name for ever. In 1932, he published in the surrealist magazine Minotaure; it was then that he became befriended with Picasso. This friendship bore fruit in the form of a volume of interviews entitled Conversations with Picasso. From 1935 until 1947, Brassaï worked for the agency RAPHO. For several decades after 1937, he worked for Harper’s Bazaar. After the war he tried his hand at designing stage sets, working alongside artists such as Cocteau and Prevert. During the 1950s he also became involved in film, achieving several significant successes in this field: indeed, at the 1956 film festival in Cannes he won the award for most original film. In addition to numerous awards and prizes, in 1976 he received the French Order of Merit in recognition of his work.

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