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

    Bulfinch, Henri Cartier-Bresson: City and Landscapes, pl. 31
    Clair, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Europeans, p. 214
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Image and The World, pl. 160
    Thames & Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, pl. 2

  • Catalogue Essay

    Traveling throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland on multiple reportage assignments, Henri Cartier-Bresson filled hundreds of rolls of film with images that conveyed both the nuances of society and newsworthy moments of the time, notably including King George VI’s coronation (lot 54) in 1937. Capturing the coronations was Cartier-Bresson’s first job with Ce Soir, a communist daily newspaper, whereby he was assigned to fill the pages of Regards, the paper’s illustrated weekly. The resulting pictures mark a pivotal moment in British history: the abdication of King Edward VIII, the accession of his younger brother, and uncertainty of war on the horizon.

    Fifteen years later, while on assignment for the Harper’s Bazaar September 1952 issue, Cartier-Bresson traveled to Dublin, Ireland to photograph a horse auction at the famed Curragh racecourse (lot 61). This return to the region occurred just five years after the creation of Magnum and only seven years after the conclusion of World War II. The ten images included in the magazine extolled how people have returned to enjoying the simple pleasures of life (lots 59-61). On both of these assignments, separated by over a decade, Cartier-Bresson captured the spectators rather than the spectacle.

  • 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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Liverpool, England

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
9 3/8 x 14 1/4 in. (23.8 x 36.2 cm)
Signed in ink and copyright credit blindstamp in the margin.

$6,000 - 8,000 

Sold for $20,000

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Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century

New York Auction 12 December 2017