Robert Doisneau: the Poetic Approach to Street Photography

The city of Bologna in Italy, is preparing to welcome from 6th March to 21th June 2020 an important retrospective dedicated to the great photographer Robert Doisneau (1912 – 1994), famous for his poetic approach to street photography, author of Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville, a of the most famous images in the history of photography after the Second World War.

The exhibition, promoted by Pallavicini S.r.l Group through its members Chiara Campagnoli, Deborah Petroni and Rubens Fogacci, has been curated by the Robert Doisneau Atelier (Montrouge, Fr), created by FrancineDeroudillee Annette Doisneau to preserve and represent the photographer’s works in collaboration with Anne Morin.
143 works exhibited in the prestigious Pallavicini Palace, all from the Atelier.

The exhibition is the result of an ambitious 1986 project by Francine Deroudille and her sister Annette – the daughters of Robert Doisneau – who selected 450,000 negatives produced in over 60 years of the artist’s activity, the images of the exhibition that recount the fascinating self-biographical artist history.

About the author

Robert Doisneau (1912 —1994) was a French artist whose black and white photography of the streets of Paris charmed generations and democratized the subject of the camera.

A portrait of Robert Doisneau

His images cut through class strata to depict all sorts of city dwellers with dignity and respect. In the 1930s he used a Leica to document everyday life in the French capital. He was a champion of humanist photography and with Henri Cartier-Bresson, a pioneer of photojournalism.

He is renowned for his 1950 image Le baiser de l’hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Town Hall), a photograph of a couple kissing in the busy streets, which became the ultimate symbol of both young love and the romance of Paris.

Doisneau made his living in freelance advertising, engraving, and postcard photography, eventually publishing his work in publications like Life and Vogue. In his lifetime the French postcard industry was the largest in Europe, and postcards served as popular greeting cards as well as vacation souvenirs. Doisneau’s work often makes ironic or amusing juxtapositions, contrasting diverse characters in the Parisian streets and cafes. Much of his iconic Paris photography continues to live on as postcards or posters; the boy running with a baguette, ballerinas as vibrant as a Degas, or the musician shielding his cello from the rain with an umbrella.

Doisneau’s images present a charming vision of human life as a series of strange yet delightful moments, infused with a childlike wonder and playfulness. He also is renown for celebrity portraits including those of Alberto Giacometti, Jean Cocteau, Fernand Léger, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso, and in the 1950s documented the booming lifestyles in Palm Springs, worlds away from his Paris.
When he died in April 1994, he left behind 450,000 negatives that tell an entertaining story of his time with a tender and observant eye, which must not hide the depth of his thought, his irreverent attitude toward power and authority, his relentlessly free-thinking mind.

From: 6/03/2020 – To: 21/06/2020
Palazzo Pallavicini – Bologna, Italy

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