We present in this paper a new method for contrast enhancement based on the curvelet transform. The curvelet transform represents edges better than wavelets, and is therefore well-suited for multiscale edge enhancement. We compare this approach with enhancement based on the wavelet transform, and the Multiscale Retinex. In a range of examples, we use edge detection and segmentation, among other processing applications, to provide for quantitative comparative evaluation. Our findings are that curvelet based enhancement out-performs other enhancement methods on noisy images, but on noiseless or near noiseless images curvelet based enhancement is not remarkably better than wavelet based enhancement.