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

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Literature

    Bibliothèque nationale de France, De qui s'agit-il?, p. 130
    Centre Pompidou, Henri Cartier-Bresson: L’exposition, p. 24
    Chéroux, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Here and Now, pl. 95
    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work, p. 136
    Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century, p. 101
    Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art, pl. 284
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Image and The World, pl. 157
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, pl. 148

  • Catalogue Essay

    As one of the foremost female painters of the twentieth century, Leonor Fini is known for her images of empowered women. Here shown as if one of her own paintings, she is boldly floating in the nude, her body distorted by the water and by Cartier-Bresson's decision to compose the final picture with her head vanishing just beyond the frame. An endless source of fascination and exploration for the Surrealists, the femal form's distortion and abstraction served to mediate unconcious desires. Cartier-Bresson's portrait is a nod not only to Fini's oeuvre, but to the broader Surrealist influence of his own work at the time.

    Igor Bakht, to whom this print is inscribed, was a master printer, best known for this longtime collaboration with André Kertész, another great influence to Cartier-Bresson, from the 1960s onward.

  • 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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Leonor Fini, Italy

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
14 x 9 1/2 in. (35.6 x 24.1 cm)
Signed and inscribed 'á Igor Bakht' in ink and copyright credit blindstamp in the margin.

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $20,000

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Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century

New York Auction 12 December 2017