January 2, 2007

Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Scrapbook: Photographs 1932-46

Henri Cartier-Bresson Bruxelles, Belgium, 1932 © Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Back of the image - HCB wrote: "One of my first fotos"
At the beginning of World War II, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson was captured and held in a German prisoner of war camp for three years before he escaped in 1943. To the outside world, he was presumed dead, and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York prepared to do a memorial exhibition (which ultimately took place in 1947). When Cartier-Bresson emerged, alive, he joined the efforts to assemble the retrospective. He selected and personally printed examples of his best works—including many that had never been printed before. Upon his arrival in New York in April 1946, he bought a scrapbook into which he meticulously glued all the prints in chronological order. In the 1990s, realizing the tremendous value and quality of the prints, he began taking them out, keeping thirteen pages mounted. These prints and the remaining intact pages will be on view in the landmark exhibition, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Scrapbook: Photographs, 1932-46 at the International Center of Photography (1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street) from January 19 through April 29, 2007.
Containing work from Cartier-Bresson’s rich, early photographic career (1932-46), the prints from this scrapbook, comprising well over 300 vintage photographs, provide an extraordinary window into the photographer’s process and artistic development. These significant early images, including those from his travels to Italy, Spain and Mexico, and his encounters with Surrealism and modern art, reveal Cartier-Bresson’s working methods including some of his most famous portraits. Many of the images included in Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Scrapbook: Photographs, 1932-46 are among the photographer’s most noted and now form the core collection of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, established by him, his wife, photographer Martine Franck, and their daughter Mélanie in 2002 to preserve his legacy and work. Curated by Agnès Sire, head of the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, the exhibition will bring together 331 original scrapbook images printed by Cartier-Bresson in 1946 plus fifteen modern prints, and larger prints made in 1947 for the MoMA exhibition.
International Center of Photography (ICP) Director Willis Hartshorn noted, "The International Center of Photography and Henri Cartier-Bresson have a long history. When ICP opened its doors in 1974, it was with an exhibition of the work of Cartier-Bresson called Apropos USSR (1954-1973). Through the years, his exhibitions at ICP have included a major retrospective, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, as well as the exhibitions Photo Portraits and In India. In 1994, he was presented with ICP’s Infinity Award for Master of Photography. We feel extremely fortunate to be once again honoring this legendary photographer and for being selected as the only venue outside of Paris for this historic exhibition." Accompanying the exhibition will be a catalogue reproducing all images chosen by Cartier-Bresson for his scrapbook as well as his correspondence and historical documents. The catalogue is co-published by Thames & Hudson and the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris, and includes essays by Martine Franck, Agnès Sire, and Michel Frizot. This exhibition was curated and organized by the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris. The International Center of Photography presentation is supported by Air France, Saint-Gobain Corporation, Fred and Stephanie Shuman, Frank and Mary Ann Arisman, Andrew and Marina Lewin, and Sanford Luger and Ellen Samuel.

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