Atget, Eugène

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Atget, Eugène Gender: M
Jean Eugène Auguste Atget
born on 12 February 1857 at 18:00 (= 6:00 PM )
Place Libourne, France, 44n55, 0w14
Timezone LMT m0w14 (is local mean time)
Data source
BC/BR in hand
Rodden Rating AA
Collector: Steinbrecher
Astrology data s_su.18.gif s_aqucol.18.gif 24°02' s_mo.18.gif s_libcol.18.gif 06°51 Asc.s_vircol.18.gif 01°45'

Eugène Atget


French photographer, renowned for the wide variety of his work that ranged from shrubs and flowers to street musicians and architecture, to indoors and outdoors shots that earned him a reputation by some of being one of the greatest photographers that ever lived. His produced over 8,000 photos, and after his death it took the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 12 years to date, collate and cross-reference his enormous volume of work to produce one of the biggest exhibitions ever of a single photographer’s work.

Atget was born to a carriage maker father, and was orphaned before he could walk. His uncle, who was a stationmaster in Bordeaux, was at a loss as to what to do with him. He went to sea as a very young man and his family then sent him to Paris, hoping he would enter the priesthood. Though he learned Greek and Latin, he never joined the clergy. At 22, he decided to become an actor, attended the Conservatory in Paris, and passed his exams. For 17 years he managed to sustain a wretched living as a bit player with touring companies, and most agreed he did not have acting talent. He did give illustrated lectures on the French dramatists and demonstrated a broad historical feel for the theater.

In 1898, he abandoned acting and went to Paris to try to find a new career. He took up painting but at the age of 41 he didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life.

He began taking photographs, using archaic photography equipment that he saw no reason to improve. He sold his work to the museums and libraries of Paris.

Plagued by a stomach ulcer in his 50’s, he drank nothing but boiled water and ate nothing but a form of pancake. His diet consisted of bread, milk and lump sugar.

His only close relationship was in Paris in 1886 with an actress named Valentine Compagnon who was ten years older and from a distinguished theatrical family. They lived together until she died, 40 years later. Ironically, he never photographed her.

He died on 4 August 1927 at the age of 70 in Paris.

Link to Wikipedia biography


  • Work : New Career 1890 (Began to take pictures)
  • Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1910 (Produced first picture series)

Source Notes

B.C. in hand from Steinbrecher

BC in hand from Didier Geslain archive, file a.pdf, photo #138


  • Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Gastrointestinal (Stomach, in his 50s)
  • Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Orphaned as an infant)
  • Family : Relationship : Cohabitation more than 3 yrs (Partner for over 40 years, never married)
  • Family : Relationship : Married late/never (Never)
  • Lifestyle : Work : Same Job more than 10 yrs (Photographer)
  • Lifestyle : Financial : On the edge (Never made much money, scraped along)
  • Lifestyle : Home : Left home early less than 18 (Went to sea as a kid)
  • Vocation : Art : Photography (Outstanding)
  • Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage (Legitimate theater for 17 years: no talent)
  • Notable : Famous : Notable extremes (Over 8,000 photos, took 12 yrs to catalog)
  • Notable : Book Collection : Culture Collection