Henri Cartier-Bresson - Photographs New York Thursday, October 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • Literature

    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work, p. 78
    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, p. 92
    Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art, pl. 271
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Image and The World, pl. 122

  • Catalogue Essay

    The selection of photographs appearing here as lots 87 through 97 all come originally from the collection of New York gallerist Robert Schoelkopf (1927-1991). Schoelkopf began his career as a dealer in 1957 and became known for handling the work of Hudson River School painters as well as that of early 20th century American artists. In the mid-1960s he began incorporating photography into his Madison Avenue gallery’s exhibition program, and thus became a pioneer in creating the market for fine art photographs. He first showed Walker Evans’s work in 1966 and gave the photographer several exhibitions in the coming years, including one that dovetailed with the retrospective of Evans’s work at The Museum of Modern Art in 1971. In 1969, Schoelkopf handled the sale of duplicate prints from MoMA’s collection of Eugène Atget photographs. He was the first New York dealer to handle the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson. In a 1971 review of an exhibition of Brassaï’s work, Artforum praised the gallery for “continuing its attentiveness to photography” – a rarity for a New York gallery at the time. Schoelkopf’s gallery records are now in the collection of the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art and include extensive correspondence with Walker Evans and Brassai.

  • Artist Biography

    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. 

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Property from the Collection of Robert J. Schoelkopf


Tivoli Near Rome

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
13 7/8 x 9 3/8 in. (35.2 x 23.8 cm)
Signed in ink in the margin; signed in ink, credit and reproduction limitation and Magnum copyright credit reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

$5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for $8,820

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department
+1 212 940 1225


Vanessa Hallett
Deputy Chairwoman, Americas and Worldwide Head of Photographs
+1 212 940 1243


New York Auction 7 October 2021