Henri Cartier-Bresson  (French, 1908-2004) 

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, August 22, 1908–August 3, 2004) was an influential artist and photographer of the 20th-century. Considered an early pioneer of photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson began his artistic career studying painting with André Lhote (French, 1885–1962). He took his first photographs when he traveled to Africa in 1931, and he continued with this medium upon returning to Europe. Cartier-Bresson’s photographs were published the following year in Arts et Metiers Graphiques.

The subsequent years brought the photographer’s exhibitions to Spain, Mexico, and the United States. While in New York, he studied the art of motion pictures and later assisted the director Jean Renoir (French, 1894–1979) with Partie de Campagne, a short film considered exemplary of Impressionist cinema. In 1937, Cartier-Bresson directed a documentary on healthcare in Republican Spain and photographed the coronation of Great Britain's George VI. His travels and subjects sometimes brought unwanted attention, such as when he was incarcerated in Nazi Germany in 1940 while serving in the French army. Escaping on his third attempt, he later covered the liberation of France and filmed a documentary on war reparations. Many in the United States believed him to have perished in the war, so Cartier-Bresson traveled to New York in 1946 to open an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. The following year, he established Magnum Photos, a photographer-owned cooperative-with Robert Capa (Hungarian, 1913–1954), David Seymour (Polish, 1911–1956), William Vandivert (American, 1912–1989), and George Rodger (British, 1908–1995).

The following years found the photographer in the Far East covering the death of Ghandi, the rise of Communist China, and the Indonesian independence movement. Cartier-Bresson spent most of the 1950s back in Europe publishing books of his photographic essays. The next decade, however, provided many more travel opportunities, including visits to Fidel Castro''s Cuba, Japan, and the United States. While in America, he directed two documentaries for CBS News.

In 1975, he gave up photography to return to painting. His photographic legacy is summarized by his own book, Images à la Sauvette, or The Decisive Moment. Cartier-Bresson''s ability to capture the split second when a decision was made or when a course was reversed brought power to his pictures, a power many succeeding generations of photographer still seek to re-create. The artist died on August 3, 2004.

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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Calle Cuauhtemocztin, Mexico


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Calle Cuauhtemocztin, Mexico

Thomas V. Meyer Fine Art
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Allée du Prado, Marseilles


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Allée du Prado, Marseilles
end time: Apr 28, 2014 10:30 AM EST
artnet Auctions
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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Hyères, France


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Hyères, France
end time: Apr 28, 2014 1:00 PM EST
artnet Auctions
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Henri Cartier-Bresson, On the Banks of the Marne


Henri Cartier-Bresson
On the Banks of the Marne

Robert Koch Gallery
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Matisse


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Matisse

Auction: Apr 24, 2014
Heffel Fine Art Auction House
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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Leonard Bernstein


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Leonard Bernstein
Michael Shapiro Photographs
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Matisse


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Henri Matisse

Heffel Fine Art
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Seville


Henri Cartier-Bresson

Robert Koch Gallery
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare

Robert Koch Gallery
Past auction results (2874)  View All
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Brussels


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Brussels, 1932
silver print


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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Anne-Marie Monet


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Anne-Marie Monet, 1946
gelatin silver print


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Henri Cartier-Bresson, Anne-Marie Monet à son bureau


Henri Cartier-Bresson
Anne-Marie Monet à son bureau, 1946
gelatin silver print


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1908   Born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne
1927 - 1928   Studied painting under Cubist painter and sculptor André Lhote at the Lhote Academy in Paris, France
1931   Spent one year in the Ivory Coast, where he took his first photographs
Traveled throughout Europe with Andre Pieyre de Mandiargues and Leonor Fini
1932   Studied Cinematography with Paul Strand, New York, NY
1932   Discovered the Leica, his camera of choice thereafter
1936 - 1939   Worked as a production assistant for Jean Renoir in Paris, France
1940   Captured by the Nazis while fighting in the French Army
1943   Escaped from prison on his third attempt and subsequently joined an underground organization to assist prisoners and escapees
1943   Began taking portraits of artists and writers for Editions Braun, including Henri Matisse, Pierre Bonnard, Georges Braque and Camille Claudel
1944 - 1945   Joined a group of professional photographers in order to document the liberation of Paris
Finished Le Retour (The Return) a documentary film about returning captives and deportees
1947   Founded Magnum Photos with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David 'Chim' Seymour and William Vandivert
1948   Overseas Press Club of America Award
1953   A.S.M.P. Award
1954   Overseas Press Club of America Award
1959   Prix de la Société Française de Photographie
1960   Overseas Press Club of America Award
1964   Overseas Press Club of America Award
1975   Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie
1975   Culture Prize
1981   Awarded the Grand Prix National from the French Ministry of Culture
1986   Granted the Novecento Award by Jorge Luis Borges in Palermo, Italy
1988   The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY established the Henri Cartier-Bresson Prize
2003   The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation opened in Paris, France
2004   He died at his home in Provence on 3 August
2013   Motor City Muse: Detroit Photographs, Then and Now - The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI
Light Sensitive - Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, NC
The Decisive Momen - Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa, ON
2012   Magnum Contacts - Magnum Photos Paris, Paris
Henri Cartier-Bresson - The Decisive Moment - Galerie Johannes Faber, Vienna
2011   Henri Cartier-Bresson - Der Kompass im Auge: Amerika-Indien-Sowjetunion - KunstHaus Wien, Vienna
Henri Cartier-Bresson. Die Geometrie des Augenblicks - Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg Description
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, The Image & The World - Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, Zurich
Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century - The High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA
2010   Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century - The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Victor Barsokevitsch Photographic Centre, Kuopio
Very Early Prints - Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York City, NY
Henri Cartier-bresson: The Modern Century - Eric Franck Fine Art, London (England)
Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Retrospective - MoMA - Museum of Modern Art, New York City, NY
2009   Musée de l'Art Moderne, Paris, France
Henri Cartier-Bresson. Russia - Palazzo Ducale, Genoa
Henri Cartier-Bresson: Die Europäer - Kunsthalle Erfurt, Erfurt
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris
Henri Cartier-Bresson - Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris
Henri Cartier Bresson - Early Prints - Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York City, NY
2008   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Early Works, Stadtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, Germany (solo)
National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, India
Santa Catalina Castle, Cadiz, Spain
2007   Henri Cartier-Bresson's Scrapbook: Photographs, 1932-46, International Center of Photography, New York, NY (solo)
2006   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Di chi si tratta Forma, Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan, Italy (solo)
2003 - 2005   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Retrospective, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France
La Caixa, Barcelona, Spain
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
Museum of Modern Art, Rome, Italy
Museum of Modern Art, Edinburgh, UK
Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
2004   Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany
Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, Germany
1998 - 1999   Photographien und Zeichnungen, Baukunst Galerie, Cologne, Germany
1998   Tete à Tete, National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Galerie Löhrl, Mönchengladbach, Germany
Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York, NY
Line by Line, Royal College of Art, London, UK
Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
Galerie Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland
Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Germany
1997   Musée des Beaux-Arts, Montreal, Canada
Henri Cartier-Bresson: 1974-1997, Galerie Claude Bernard, Paris, France (solo)
De Européenne, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
1996   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Pen brush and Cameras, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, MN (solo)
1995   Dessins e Hommage à Henri Cartier-Bresson, Centre Régional d’Art Contemporain Valence, Montbeliard, France (solo)
1994   Dessins e première photos, La Caridad, Barcelona, Spain
1993   Photo Dessin, Arles, France
1992   Musée de Noyers-sur-Serein, France
Palazzo San Vitale, Parma, Italy
Centro de Exposiciones, Saragossa and Logrono, Spain
L’Amérique, FNAC, Paris, France
Hommage à Henri Cartier-Bresson, International Center of Photography, New York, NY (solo)
1991   Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan
1990   Galerie Arnold Herstand, New York, NY
1989   Mannheimer Kunstverein, Mannheim, Germany
Fondation Pierre Gianadda, Martigny, Switzerland
Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
Chapelle de l’École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France
1988   Palais Lichtenstein, Vienna, Austria
Salzburger Landessammlung, Vienna, Austria
Institute français, Athens, Greece
1987   Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, UK
Henri-Cartier Bresson: Early Photographs, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1986   L’Institute français de Stockholm, Sweeden
Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy
Pavillon d’Arte contemporanea, Milan, Italy
1985   Henri Cartier-Bresson in India, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (solo)
Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City, Mexico
Paris à vue d’oil, Musée Carnavalet, Paris, France
1984   Osaka University of Arts, Osaka, Japan
1983   Printemps Ginza, Tokyo, Japan
1982   Hommage a Henri Cartier-Bresson, Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France (solo)
1981   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Retrospective, Musée d’Art de la Ville, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (solo)
1980   Portraits, Galerie Eric Franck, Geneva, Switzerland
1975   Carlton Gallery, New York, NY
Galerie Bischofberger, Zurich, Switzerland
1964   Philipps Collection, Washington, D.C.
1963   Photokina, Cologne, Germany
1956   Photokina, Cologne, Germany
1955   Henri Cartier-Bresson: Retrospective, Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, France (solo)
First exhibition in France at the Pavillon de Marsan, Lourve Museum, Paris, France (solo)
1952   Institute of Contemporary Art, London, UK
1947   Museum of Modern Art New York, NY
1934   Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City, Mexico (with Manuel Alvarez Bravo)
1933   Julien Levy Gallery, New York, NY
Cercle Atheneo, Madrid, Spain
  Stockholm Modern Museum, Stockholm, Sweden
  Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France
  Victoria & Albert Museum, London, UK
  Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
  Musée Carnavalet, Paris, France
  The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
  The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA
  International Center of Photography, New York, NY
  The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX
  Kahitsukan Kyoto Museum of Contemporary Art, Kyoto, Japan
  Museum of Modern Art, Tel Aviv, Israel
2006    Scrapbook, Steidl, Germany
2006    Portraits par Henri Cartier-Bresson, Thames & Hudson, France; (The portraits of Henri Cartier-Bresson) Thames & Hudson, UK
2003    De qui s'agit-il ?, Gallimard/Bibliothèque Nationale de France; (The Man, the Image and the World) Thames & Hudson, UK; (Di chi si tratta ?) Contrasto, Italy
2001    Orsenna, Erik and Gerard Mace. Cartier-Bresson: Landscapes. London: Thames and Hudson, 2001
2000    Cartier-Bresson. Cartier-Bresson: Towards another fire. Paris: Nautilus, 2000
1998    Groumbursch, Ernst H. Cartier-Bresson: Portraits. London: Thames and Hudson, 1998
1994    Fuentes, Carlos. Cartier-Bresson: Mexican Notebooks. London: Thames and Hudson, 1994
Feyder, Vera and Andre Pieryre de Mandi Argles. Cartier-Bresson: Paris. London: Thames and Hudson, 1994
1991    Mora, Giles. Cartier-Bresson: America. New York: Bulfinch, 1991
1987    Clair, Jean. Cartier-Bresson: The Europeans. London: Thames and Hudson, 1987
Statyajit, Ray and Yves Vwquad. Cartier-Bresson: In India. London: Thames and Hudson, 1987
Galossi, Peter. Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1987
1954    de Zoete Delpire, Béryl and Artaud Antonin. Les Danses à Bali. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952
1952    Cartier-Bresson. The Decisive Moment. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1952
1947    Kirstein, Licoln. The Photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1947 (catalogue)