The photographer Gyula Halász worked under the pseudonym Brassaï, a reference to his birthplace in what was then Hungary and is now Romania. He studied painting and sculpture at the Budapest Academy of Fine Arts, before moving to Berlin in 1920, where continued his artistic studies while working as a journalist. In 1924 he relocated to Paris, and settled there permanently. His work as a journalist allowed him to enter the world of photography at a time when Surrealism was taking root in France. In 1932 he published his photography book Paris de nuit, and in that same year he started taking photographs of graffiti in the streets of the city.
Artists and intellectuals soon became interested in Brassaï's photographs and he began collaborating with them on work that appeared in publications such as Minotaure, Labyrinthe and Verve. A prolific and versatile artist, Brassaï also produced works in the fields of sculpture, drawing, engraving, literature, film and writing. He wrote numerous articles and almost twenty books, including Graffiti, published in 1960. His film Tant qu'il y aura des bêtes won an award at Cannes in 1956.