Hôtel des Clochards

André Kertész at Michael Dawson Gallery

André Kertész
May 1st, 1928, Paris
silver gelatin
8 x 10"
printed c.1967

Turnips and vegetables on the folding table. Cut flowers, rather. First of May, 1928. A bunch of flowers, two or three with their leaves, in the right hand. A metal handrail extends from the right eye of the vendor through the flowers and the right forearm of the girl to her right hip, passing through the girdle of Venus and the valise and continuing into the white tiles, terminating with a flourish.

To the rear, a gentleman advancing along the sidewalk. In front, her back to the camera and about to descend the flight of stairs leading to the underground train, and ignoring the proffered flowers at her right hand while holding by its handle a small valise in her left, and totally surmounted by a black trench coat loosely cinched at the waist, flapper-capped at a jaunty angle and convent-shod with two-inch heels, a young lady.

In front of a café, by the Métro entrance, seated legless at the scroll of a balustrade hawking his wares before a small folding table with three potted sprigs beside it on the pavement, perhaps a veteran of the Great War. Two large columns painted white above and some dark color below support the roof above the café tables. The balustrade descends architecturally speaking in a series of simple orders like a geological cut, dominated by the plain white tile characteristic of the institution. The light is diffuse, and comes from above.