The exhibition “Henri Cartier-Bresson – Paris revisited” is presented from June 15th to October 31st, 2021 at the musée Carnavalet in Paris.
After early years marked by the influence of the photographer Eugène Atget and the Surrealist artists, Cartier-Bresson became, from the 1930s onward, a long-haul traveler, with Paris as his home port. In a city that he never stopped exploring, his interest lay in the way people moved and occupied space. He photographed them in the street and in meetings. Passionate about current affairs, Cartier-Bresson was a witness to several major historical events, such as the Liberation of Paris in August 1944 and May 68. He made a point of going straight to the site of gatherings as soon as he could. In Paris, as elsewhere, his camera never left his side. Photographing for him was a state of mind, a breath, an affirmation, and at times, a form of protest.
His pictures of Paris, which occupy a major place in his work, reflect his urban wanderings but were also elements of photo reportages and commissions he produced for the international press; the latter are often not widely known as Cartier-Bresson usually retained only one image from them in his books and exhibitions. This mosaic reflects a flâneur who was particularly attracted by the banks of the Seine and the fringes of Parisian society.
The result of several years of research, the exhibition will present original prints, including thirty or so previously unshown, publications, and audiovisual recordings of the artist. Most of the photographs come from the collections of the Musée Carnavalet and of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
This remarkable book explores the key role Paris played in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s legendary artistic career and the way he looked at the city he lived in—and loved.
An inveterate traveler, Henri Cartier-Bresson captured the world with his camera, justly earning himself the title of ‘the eye of the century’. Between trips overseas, he regularly photographed Paris, although he rarely spoke about the city that he had made his home, where he had spent his formative years, made friends, and built a hard-won reputation.
Produced in collaboration with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson and designed to accompany the major exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet, this book showcases more than sixty years of images of Paris. It invites you to follow in the footsteps of a master photographer as he wanders the banks of the Seine and explores the more rarely seen edges of a city in a state of perpetual change.
This collection is not only a superb portrait of Paris in the twentieth century but a testament to Cartier-Bresson’s skill as a supreme observer of human life.
Henri Cartier-Bresson – Paris revisited
From June 15th to October 31st, 2021
Musée Carnavalet – Paris.