Hungarian by birth and Parisian by adoption, Brassaï is one of the protagonists of all time on the world photographic scene, defined by his friend and writer Henry Miller as “the living eye” of photography. Born Gyula Halász, Brassaï adopted Paris as his city of choice and here he established himself as one of the protagonists of this art. Friend of illustrious figures such as Picasso, Dalí and Matisse, the artist contributed to the Surrealist movement, participating in the great Parisian cultural ferment from the 1920s onwards.


His shots, which range from life in working-class neighborhoods to majestic symbolic monuments, from fashion to portraits of artist friends to graffiti and lively nightlife, have become visual icons capable of evoking the soul of Paris in the collective imagination. A pioneer of his time and subsequently an undisputed master, Brassaï was able to capture with great sensitivity the nocturnal atmosphere of the French capital and immortalize it together with its varied people: workers, prostitutes, homeless people, artists and solitary tramps. Paris de Nuit (Paris at Night), published in 1933, which collects many of the shots showed in the exhibition, is a fundamental work for the history of French photography. An exponent of the “humanist school” of the discipline for the seminal role of women, men and children in his artistic narrative, Brassaï was able to express himself beyond the social portrait: his exploration of the Parisian walls and their numerous graffiti testifies to his deep connection with the marginal arts and the art brut of Jean Dubuffet.


Promoted by the Municipality of Milan – Culture and produced by Palazzo Reale and Silvana Editoriale, this exhibition is created in synergy with the Estate Brassaï Succession and with the expert curatorship of Philippe Ribeyrolles. A scholar and at the same time nephew of the famous photographer, Ribeyrolles is the custodian of a collection of prints by Brassaï of inestimable value, accompanied by a vast documentation relating to his extraordinary artistic career. The exhibition presents over 200 vintage prints, enriched by sculptures, documents and objects belonging to the photographer, offering an in-depth and unprecedented view of Brassaï’s work: an immersion in the fascinating universe of a visionary who captured the hidden soul of Paris through the lens of a camera.