Henri Cartier-Bresson - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 14, 2020 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Swann Galleries, New York, 7 December 2004, lot 227
    Bonhams, New York, 5 April 2019, lot 7

  • Literature

    Cheroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Here and Now, p. 363

  • Catalogue Essay

    “In the 1960s . . . Cartier -Bresson began to photograph in a quieter, more deliberate fashion. His photographs had a different quality now. They were calmer. They reflected a different perception of time: time as either continuum or non-event. Many of the images could have been captured a moment before or after the photographer clicked the shutter button: they were no longer concerned with the ‘decisive moment’ upon which much of Cartier-Bresson’s reputation was based. The photographer had discovered Buddhism and was enthusing to all his friends and acquaintances about Eugen Herrigel’s book Zen in the Art of Archery. The ideas expressed therein corresponded to his current way of looking at photography – and not just photography, but life itself. During the 1970s and after, as the photojournalism fell away, this more meditative approach became increasingly apparent. The photographs that Cartier-Bresson took now, purely for pleasure, were much more intimate and reflective: a newspaper lying open on his bed, for example , or the view from his window, or a dark cloud approaching.” – Clement Cheroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Hear and Now

  • 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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Transcendence: Photography and the Sublime


Alpes de Haute, Provence

Gelatin silver print.
9 1/2 x 14 1/8 in. (24.1 x 35.9 cm)
Signed in ink and copyright credit blindstamp in the margin.

$3,000 - 5,000 

Sold for $4,375

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairwoman, Americas



New York Auction 14 October 2020