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Lys (Lilies) by Eugène Atget

Lys (Lilies), 1916

Eugène Atget

The thick, waxy petals and pollen-laden stamens of this cluster of lilies seem so real, you can almost touch them, yet the dark saturated tones of the albumen silver print mark this photograph as part of a bygone era. The photographer, Atget, chose to isolate these blossoms in a close-up study; dozens more flowers behind create a hazy background. Atget advertised “documents for artists”: photographs that would be useful to artists as source material. His clients included textile designers, wallpaper designers, and painters, all of whom might have found this image of lilies in bloom quite valuable.

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