City of Nights

Couple at the Four Seasons Dance Hall, Rue de Lappe

Arriving in Paris in 1924, Hungarian-born Gyula Halász was anything but a photographer. A painter and occasional journalist, he even confessed to despising the art form. But he was a night owl, attracted to a city couched in the [an error occurred while processing this directive] glow of street lamps and dense mist. Nocturnal Paris was, to him, a "world of pleasure, of love, vice, crime, drugs Paris at its most alive." And best illuminating it called for a camera.

The work of Brassaï, as Halász became in 1932 (meaning "from Brassó," his native village), made him one of the...

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