Henri Cartier-Bresson - Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century New York Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | Phillips

Create your first list.

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

  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    Nourissier, Cartier-Bresson's France, p. 74

  • Catalogue Essay

    Henri Cartier-Bresson’s intuition is evident throughout his native France where he captured career defining images, including Rue Mouffetard (lot 2) and Hyères (lot 17), among many others. Instilled with an ever present joie de vivre, Cartier-Bresson’s pictures of France create a collective portrait of the country throughout the twentieth century, invigorating every setting, from the rural paysage in Briançon (lot 20), to the bustling streets of Paris. Whether photographing at home or abroad, Cartier-Bresson believed that the strongest images came from a familiarity of place, and it is perhaps the intimate knowledge of the well-worn streets of Paris that allow the photographer’s keen eye to so skillfully capture the city. Notably, Cartier-Bresson’s family home was located on rue de Lisbonne, nearby Gare Saint-Lazare, where one of his most recognized photographs, Behind the Gare Saint- Lazare (lot 16), was taken very early in his career, in 1932.

  • 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


Church of Aubusson, France

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
14 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (35.9 x 24.1 cm)
Signed in ink in the margin; credited, titled and dated in an unidentified hand in pencil on the verso.

$5,000 - 7,000 

Sold for $8,125

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