Henri Cartier-Bresson - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 3, 2018 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Christie’s, New York, 150 Years of Photography, 25 April 1989, lot 253

  • Literature

    Cartier-Bresson, The Decisive Moment, pl. 13
    Cartier-Bresson, The World of Henri Cartier-Bresson, pl. 9
    Bibliothèque nationale de France, De qui s'agit-il?, p. 102
    Chéroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Here and Now, pl. 57, fig. 14
    Chéroux, Aperture Masters of Photography: Henri Cartier-Bresson, p. 27
    Chéroux, Discoveries: Henri Cartier-Bresson, p. 32
    Clair, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans, p. 74
    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work, p. 108
    Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art, pl. 14
    B. Newhall and Kirstein, The Photographs of Henri Cartier-Bresson, p. 17
    Steidl, Henri Cartier-Bresson Scrapbook, pls. 16, 59
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Image and The World, pl. 115
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, pl. 90

  • Catalogue Essay

    Taken in 1933, Seville, Spain encapsulates the spontaneity and precision of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s best work. Although his focus was on capturing the “decisive moment,” Cartier-Bresson studied his subjects and locales extensively before making an exposure. In Spain, he spent three weeks absorbing his surroundings prior to photographing.

    The photograph offered here is a rare 1950s or early 1960s print. It bears the stamp of Magnum’s New York office on West 47th Street, an address the agency occupied only between late 1955 and 1962. The print’s open tonality and slightly warm tones distinguish it from later prints of the image.

    After the success of the Decisive Moment exhibition, which toured America from 1957 to 1960, Cartier-Bresson decided to make available for sale prints of his best images, including the image offered here. Prints from this period were made by Magnum in New York City in a projected edition of 50. It is unknown if these editions were fully realized. This photograph dates to that period and may be from that edition. The typed title label affixed to the verso may be an exhibition label.

  • 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. 

    View More Works


Seville, Spain

Gelatin silver print, probably printed between 1955 and 1962.
9 3/4 x 14 3/4 in. (24.8 x 37.5 cm)
Credit, 'Henri Cartier-Bresson (Magnum), 15 West 47th Street, New York 19, N.Y.' stamps, titled and dated in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso; typed title on a label affixed to the verso.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $30,000

Contact Specialist
Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries
+1 212 940 1245


New York Auction 4 October 2018