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HCB1932004W00002C  From ArtDaily,

“PARIS.- Through more than five hundred photographs, drawings, paintings, films and documents, the Centre Pompidou is devoting a completely new retrospective to the work of’ Henri Cartier-Bresson: the first in Europe since the artist’s death.”

From the Centre Pompidou web page, “France’s most famous photographer, a long way from all the legends and clichés.

 “Through over five hundred photographs, drawings, paintings, films and documents bringing together well-known and unfamiliar pictures alike, the exhibition aims to present a history of his extraordinary work, and thereby of the 20th century.”

As described by ArtDaily,

 “The man known as ‘The eye of the century’ was one of the great witnesses of our history. The Centre Pompidou retrospective illustrates the depth and variety of his work and his wide-ranging career as a photographer – one that covered Surrealism, the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War, decolonisation and the Cold War.”

“The exhibition reveals his work far beyond the ‘decisive moment’ that long sufficed to sum up his genius for composition and skill in capturing movement. Ten years after his death, now that the thousands of prints he left to posterity have been brought together by the foundation that bears his name, the exhibition proposes a genuine reinterpretation of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work.

“The exhibition features the photographer’s iconic pictures, but also puts the spotlight on lesser-known images. It reassesses a number of little-known photo reports, brings to light collections of paintings and drawings, and focuses on Cartier-Bresson’s forays into the world of film.”

“Both chronological and thematic, the circuit is structured around three main viewpoints: the period between 1926 and 1935, marked by his contact with the Surrealists, his early work as a photographer and his travels all over the world; a second section devoted to Cartier-Bresson’s political commitment when he returned from the US in 1936 until he set off for New York again in 1946, and a third sequence opening with the creation of Magnum Photos in 1947 and finishing with the early Seventies, when Cartier-Bresson stopped doing photo reports.”


Although not part of the Exhibition, we have put in links below to 3 video clips that portray the essence of Henri Cartier-Bresson. What better way to hear/see it than from the master himself?

The first is on Love:
Henri Cartier-Bresson L’amour tout court Part1

The second is on “Looking and Loving,” Part 4 of the series on Henri Cartier-Bresson

The third is “Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Decisive Moment,” the concept by which he is best known.

Here, courtesy of ArtDaily is summary of the Exhibition.

Preamble 1926 – 1928. Cartier-Bresson began to spend time with the Surrealists and to produce collages in the style of his friend Max Ernst.

Rising Signs 1903- 1931. It all began in the 1920s, under the twin stars of painting and amateur photography, then developed through several defining moments, such as his trip to Africa in 1930-1931.


 The Surrealist Influence, 1926- 1930s,  Cartier-Bresson spent time with the Surrealists around 1926.  “Cartier-Bresson would be particularly touched by the principles of convulsive beauty set out by [André] Breton and would continue to put them into practice during the 1930s.

Activism, 1934. Like most of his Surrealist friends, Cartier-Bresson shared many of the Communists’ political positions: a fierce anti-colonialism, an unswerving commitment to the Spanish Republicans.  On his return to Paris from Mexico and the United States in 1936, ‘Cartier-Bresson was radicalised: he regularly took part in the activities of the AEAR (association of revolutionary writers and artists) and began to work for the Communist press.’

Cinema and war Cartier-Bresson said of cinema that it had “taught him to see.”

The decision to become a photojournalist In February 1947, Cartier-Bresson inaugurated his first major institutional retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. Several months later, with Robert Capa, David Seymour, George Rodger and William Vandivert, he founded the Magnum agency, which rapidly became one of the world’s leaders for quality photojournalism.  From 1947, and up until the beginning of the 1970s, he took many trips and produced numerous photo-reports from all four corners of the globe, working for almost all of the major international illustrated magazines.


“After photography From the 1970s, Cartier-Bresson, who was then over sixty years of age, gradually stopped taking reportage commissions, i.e. taking photographs within a restrictive framework…. Even though he had officially stopped being a photographer, he still kept his Leica within reach and occasionally produced more contemplative images. But above all, he frequently visited museums and exhibitions and spent most of his time drawing.”

The Exhibition runs from February 12 to June 9, and  is Curated by Mnam/Cci, Clément Chéroux.


The Danziger Gallery in New York, at 525 W. 23rd St.,  is presently is showing work by Henri Cartier -Bresson, along with work by Robert Frank, in the Exhibition “The Heart & The Eye,” Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank in the World. This Exhibition runs through March 22, 2014.


The Henri Cartier-Bresson Exhibition app is available on  iTunes in English and French. 4,49€, the Android version will be released soon.

The Exhibition is also on twitter twitter,  which has a large number of photos, a list where you can see more of the pictures, and all of the comments. It also has a facebook page.

The Exhibition Catalogue, the print edition, is here.

Google Images is a great source for a collection of Cartier-Bresson’s images.

An excellent review of the Exhibition by Agathe, in English and French is here.

A great piece about Cartier-Bresson is “10 Things Henri Cartier-Bresson Can Teach You About Street Photography,” by Eric  Kim.

The Magnum Photo site on Henri Cartier-Bresson.

The Bibliography of Cartier-Bresson.

And, the Biography.


A note about Henri Cartier-Bresson’s prints.

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs are of some of the most epic events of the last century, beautifully printed in black-and-white. He never printed his own pictures.  The vast majority of those gelatin silver prints were made by one man between 1967 and 1997. He was Voja Mitrovic, a master printer at Paris’ celebrated Picto photo lab.


  1. Fantastic post. Thank you so much. HCB has had a huge influence on my life. I will go to Paris and see the exhibition. Can’t wait!

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