Brassaï (pseudonym of Gyula Halász) (September 9, 1899July 8, 1984) was a Hungarian photographer, sculptor, and filmmaker who rose to fame in France.


Gyula Halász was born in Brassó (Braşov), in Romania, to a Hungarian father and an Armenian mother. [ [] . "Brassaï's father was Hungarian, a professor of French Literature at the University of Brassó, but his mother was of Armenian origin."] He is sometimes incorrectly described as Jewish. [The following source describes Brassaï as "Hungarian-Jewish" ( [] and [] ) but the ethnic ancestry described in this biography (Halász Gyula: A századik év küszöbén. Bucharest, 1967) and the religious background described in his memoirs (Brassai: Letters to my Parents) contradict this.] At age three, his family moved to live in Paris, France for a year, while his father, a Professor of Literature, taught at the Sorbonne. As a young man, Gyula Halász studied painting and sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Budapest, before joining a cavalry regiment of the Austro-Hungarian army, where he served until the end of the First World War. In 1920 Halász went to Berlin, where he worked as a journalist and studied at the Berlin-Charlottenburg Academy of Fine Arts.

In 1924 he moved to Paris where he would live the rest of his life. In order to learn the French language, he began teaching himself by reading the works of Marcel Proust. Living amongst the huge gathering of artists in the Montparnasse Quarter, he took a job as a journalist. He soon became friends with Henry Miller, Léon-Paul Fargue, and the poet Jacques Prévert.


Gyula Halász's job and his love of the city, whose streets he often wandered late at night, led to photography. He later wrote that photography allowed him to seize the Paris night and the beauty of the streets and gardens, in rain and mist. Using the name of his birthplace, Gyula Halász went by the pseudonym "Brassaï," which means "from Brasso." As Brassaï, he captured the essence of the city in his photographs, publishing his first book of photographs in 1933 titled "Paris de nuit" ("Paris by Night"). His efforts met with great success, resulting in his being called "the eye of Paris" in an essay by his friend Henry Miller. In addition to photos of the seedier side of Paris, he also provided scenes from the life of the city's high society, its intellectuals, its ballet, and the grand operas. He photographed many of his great artist friends, including Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Alberto Giacometti, plus many of the prominent writers of his time such as Jean Genet, Henri Michaux and others.

Brassaï's photographs brought him international fame leading to a one-man show in the United States at the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois, and at New York City's Museum of Modern Art.



In 1956, his film, "Tant qu'il y aura des bêtes", won the "Most Original Film" award at the Cannes Film Festival and in 1974 he was made Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters and given the Legion of Honor in 1976. Two years later, in 1978, he won the first "Grand Prix National de la Photographie" in Paris.

As well as a photographer, Brassaï was the author of seventeen books and numerous articles, including the 1948 novel "Histoire de Marie", which was published with an introduction by Henry Miller. His "Letters to My Parents" and "Conversations with Picasso", have been translated into English and published by the University of Chicago Press.

After 1961, when he stopped taking photographs, Brassaï concentrated his considerable energy on sculpting in stone and bronze. Several tapestries were made from his designs based on his photographs of graffiti.

Brassaï died on July 7, 1984 in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Alpes-Maritimes, in the south of France and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in Paris. [Sayag and Lionel-Marie, eds., "". Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 2000, p. 305.] The copyright representative for the Estate of Brassaï is French photography agency Réunion des Musées Nationaux (RMN), [ [ RMN Copyright Conditions (PDF)] ] which also mangages more than 1,400 high resolution scans of Brassaï's work.

In 2000, an exhibition of some 450 works by Brassaï was organized with the help of his widow, Gilberte at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.

ee also

*Mononymous persons



*Tucker, Anne Wilkes, with Richard Howard and Avis Berman. "Brassai: The Eye of Paris." Houston, Tex.: Houston Museum of Fine Arts, 1997. ISBN 0810963809
* [ Brassai Biography]

External links

* [ Masters of Photography]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brassai — Brassaï Brassaï, pseudonyme de Gyula Halász, le 9 septembre 1899 à Braşov (hongrois: Brassó ville alors austro hongroise et rattachée à la Roumanie depuis) et mort le 8 juillet 1984 à Èze (Alpes Maritimes), était un… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brassaï — Brassaï, pseudonyme de Gyula Halász, né le 9 septembre 1899 à Brașov (hongrois: Brassó ville alors austro hongroise et rattachée à la Roumanie depuis) et mort le 8 juillet 1984 à Nice (Alpes Maritimes), était un photographe… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Brassaï — (bürgerlich Gyula Halász; * 9. September 1899 in Kronstadt/Brassó, heute rum. Brașov, damals Österreich Ungarn, heute Rumänien; † 7. Juli 1984 in Nizza) war ein französischer Fotograf ungarischer Herkunft. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Leben 2 Werk …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • BRASSAÏ — GYULA HALASZ dit (1899 1984) Photographe français, d’origine hongroise. Gyula Halasz arrive à Paris en 1923 après un court séjour à l’Académie des beaux arts de Berlin (il prendra le nom de Brassaï pour son premier livre publié en 1933, Paris de… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Brassai — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Samuel Brassai (1800–1897), ungarischer Sprachwissenschaftler, Philosoph und Naturwissenschaftler Brassaï ist das Pseudonym von: Brassaï (1899–1984); bürgerlich Gyula Halász), französischer Fotograf …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Brassaï — Brassaï, pseudónimo de Gyula Halász (1899 1984), fue fotógrafo húngaro conocido por sus trabajos sobre París, ciudad donde desarrolló su carrera. Gyula Halász nació el 9 de septiembre de 1899 en Brassó, entonces parte de Hungría, hoy… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Brassaï — fue el pseudónimo de Gyula Halász (1899 1984), fotógrafo parisino. Gyula Halász nació el 9 de septiembre de 1899 en Brassó, entonces parte de Hungría, hoy perteneciente a Rumania. A los tres años su familia se trasladó a París durante un año… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Brassaï —   [bra saj], eigentlich Gyula Halász [ hɔlɑːs], französischer Fotograf ungarischer Herkunft, * Kronstadt 9. 9. 1899, ✝ Nizza 8. 7. 1984; lebte ab 1924 in Paris. Seine Aufnahmen des nächtlichen Paris gehören zu den Höhepunkten der realistischen… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Brassaï — Bras·saï (brə sīʹ), Pseudonym of Gyula Halász. 1899 1984. Transylvanian born French photographer best known for his published collection Paris at Night (1933) and for photographing the studios of famous artists, including Picasso. * * * orig.… …   Universalium

  • Brassai —    see Halasz, Gyula …   Dictionary of erotic artists: painters, sculptors, printmakers, graphic designers and illustrators

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