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Transmutations

Accession Number
1971/2.150.13

Title
Transmutations

Artist(s)
Brassaï

Artist Nationality
French (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1934-1935; printed 1967

Medium & Support
gelatin silver prints on paper, in portfolio

Dimensions
15 in x 11 1/4 in (38.1 cm x 28.58 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase

Subject matter
In 1932, after Brassaï left one of his glass plate negatives in Pablo Picasso's studio, Picasso drew directly onto Brassaï's negative. Picasso's action inspired the photographer to make marks on his own negatives, often scratching away the photographic image already exposed on the glass plates. He transformed photographs of female nudes with lines to produce intricate patterns, musical instruments, and new forms. Brassaï re-worked about 150 negatives from 1934-1935 and then published twelve images as the portfolio Transmutations in 1967. The title references the process of mutating the human body through the cliché-verre process. Brassaï described photography as his raw material, the point of departure for his transmutations, where realism gave way to fantasy.

Physical Description
A linen covered, velvet lined, clamshell folio, with gilt lettering on the spine and Arches Aquarelle Satin Rives paper for Brassaï's Transmutations portfolio.

Primary Object Classification
Photograph

Collection Area
Photography

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Abstract (fine arts style)
Surrealist
cliché-verre (photographic process)
clichés-verre (negatives)
clichés-verre (photographic prints)
female
musical instruments
nudes (representations)

2 Related Resources

Art of interest to Judaic Studies
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Surreal Photography
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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