le Fit de Mitron

photo of a Mitron 1899-1900, published in The Work of Atget, the catalogue for one of four consecutive exhibitions of Eugène Atget at The Modern from 1981 thru 1985

When the Manhattan Art Review posted this image of Eugène Atget’s c. 1899-1900 photo of a mitron, or baker’s boy, to social media, I did not think of MoMA’s four-show, four-year odyssey through Atget’s oeuvre, where John Szarkowski installed it together with Porteuse de pain, a photo taken in the same spot and the same light of a woman pushing a bread cart.

Eugène Atget, Porteuse de pain, 1899-1900, collection: MoMA

[Not to get all Errol Morris about it, but judging by the shadows of the trees, I’d say Atget photographed the mitron a few minutes before the porteuse. Also, I’d have to disagree with the catalogue where [Szarkowski?] says, “The basket on the head of the mitron is surely the same one that rests on top of the cart of the porteuse.” Uh, surely it is not?]

But none of that mattered; all I could think was to respect the drip. When they present me the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Lettres et Arts, I decided, I’d don my full mitron fit to the Elysée, where I’d thank Bill Cunningham for the workwear, Susan Cianciolo for the apron/skirt—and Berenice Abbott, for saving this whole body of work from la poubelle.