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65

Gestapo informer recognized by a woman she had denounced, Transit Camp, Dessau, Germany

1945
Gelatin silver print, printed later.
11 3/4 x 17 5/8 in. (29.8 x 44.8 cm)
Signed in ink and copyright credit blindstamp in the margin.

Estimate
$8,000 - 12,000 

sold for $23,750

Contact Specialist
Rachel Peart
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1246

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245 photographs@phillips.com

  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, pl. 34, there captioned In a camp of displaced persons waiting for repatriation, a Gestapo informer who has pretended to be a refugee is discovered and exposed by a camp inmate whose face is illuminated by the strong, sharp light of rage.
    Bibliothèque nationale de France, De qui s'agit-il?, p. 78
    Centre Pompidou, Henri Cartier-Bresson: L’exposition, p. 31
    Chéroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Here and Now, pl. 205
    Chéroux, Aperture Masters of Photography: Henri Cartier-Bresson, p. 59
    Clair, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans, p. 147
    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, p. 106
    Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art, pl. 151
    B. Newhall and Kirstein, The Photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, p. 40
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Image and The World, pl. 79
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, pl. 68

  • Catalogue Essay

    Lots 64 and 65 were photographed by Henri Cartier-Bresson at a transit camp located in Dessau, Germany between the American and Soviet zones. Transit camps, such as this, were organized as the war concluded for the millions of displaced persons, including freed prisoners, forced laborers, and refugees. Cartier-Bresson came to this camp while making the documentary Le Retour (The Return), which was commissioned by the United States Office of War Information in 1944 to document the liberation of Nazi camps and the vast effort to repatriate the war’s victims. As a former prisoner of war himself, from 1940-1943, Cartier-Bresson’s Dessau images hold a personal resonance.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson’s extensive travel almost always brought him to the center of modern history as it unfolded, photographing searing moments, such as in post-war Dessau (lots 64-65), that have come to define our shared visual history. In all of this however, he never veered from a consummate humanism. Indeed, one of Cartier-Bresson’s great gifts was his ability to capture moments of the everyday lives of people living through extraordinary times. From the 1930s to the 1990s, Cartier-Bresson continuously observed the nuanced idiosyncrasies of each culture, time, and place, which, when viewed together, form a unified portrait of a collective humanity in a century marked by conflict. Traveling across geographic borders, from the streets of Yugoslavia (lots 71 & 72), the churches of Poland (lot 70), and through the majestic Austrian and Hungarian country-sides (lots 66 & 63), Cartier-Bresson’s Europeans are an unending source of fascination and visual interest.

  • Artist Bio

    Henri Cartier-Bresson

    French • 1908 - 2004

    Candidly capturing fleeting moments of beauty among the seemingly ordinary happenings of daily life, Henri Cartier-Bresson's work is intuitive and observational. Initially influenced by the Surrealists' "aimless walks of discovery," he began shooting on his Leica while traveling through Europe in 1932, revealing the hidden drama and idiosyncrasy in the everyday and mundane. The hand-held Leica allowed him ease of movement while attracting minimal notice as he wandered in foreign lands, taking images that matched his bohemian spontaneity with his painterly sense of composition.

    Cartier-Bresson did not plan or arrange his photographs. His practice was to release the shutter at the moment his instincts told him the scene before him was in perfect balance. This he later famously titled "the decisive moment" — a concept that would influence photographers throughout the twentieth century. 

    View More Works

65

Gestapo informer recognized by a woman she had denounced, Transit Camp, Dessau, Germany

1945
Gelatin silver print, printed later.
11 3/4 x 17 5/8 in. (29.8 x 44.8 cm)
Signed in ink and copyright credit blindstamp in the margin.

Estimate
$8,000 - 12,000 

sold for $23,750

Contact Specialist
Rachel Peart
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1246

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245 photographs@phillips.com

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century

New York Auction 12 December 2017

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