25 September 2017Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century
Personal Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman
An Auction Dedicated to the Iconic Photographer
Offering Works from a Renowned Collector
Sale to take Place on 12 December in New York
Following an International Tour to London, Paris, and Los Angeles
NEW YORK – 25 SEPTEMBER 2017 – On 12 December, Phillips will conclude the fall sale season with Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Eye of the Century, Personal Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman, an auction dedicated to the career of the legendary photographer. The auction will offer 120 works from the personal collection of Peter Fetterman, Cartier-Bresson’s last dealer, who worked with the artist from 1990 until his death in 2004. An international tour of the collection will take place with highlights traveling to London (29 Sept – 6 Oct), Los Angeles (12-14 October) and Paris (7-17 November). The works will be on view in New York from 5-12 December in advance of the auction.
Vanessa Hallett, Phillips’ Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas, said, “We are delighted to offer these spectacular images in our final auction of 2017. Peter Fetterman played a vital role in expanding Henri Cartier-Bresson’s audience in the United States. A great deal of Cartier-Bresson’s works have become instantly recognizable, and in addition to those images, there are many photographs in Mr. Fetterman’s collection that have rarely been seen. These stunning images span over three decades of the artist’s career and were taken throughout his travels across the globe. They beautifully capture the aesthetic of the ‘decisive moment’ that defines his oeuvre.”
About the Photographer A renowned photojournalist, Cartier-Bresson was one of the founding members of Magnum Photo Agency, with his photographs regularly featured in LIFE, and other publications. 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’ practice of aimlessly walking to find inspiration, he began shooting on his Leica camera while traveling through Europe in 1932, revealing the hidden drama and idiosyncrasy in the everyday. 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 20th century.
Peter Fetterman, Collector and Owner of the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, said, “Henri Cartier-Bresson was my hero, the man who inadvertently changed my life when I purchased a print of his image Srinagar over 40 years ago. This ‘decisive moment’ set me on a new personal and professional path which continues today. The images in this auction are the culmination of a 40 year journey of collecting his work. These objects have given me great pleasure and a unique understanding of the world and I am happy to pass them on to the next generation.”
The images in this auction are comprised of landscapes from the artist’s many travels, spanning from New York City to Kyoto, Japan, and from India to the French countryside; portraits of some of the most influential figures of the 20th century, including Malcolm X, Marilyn Monroe, and Truman Capote; and street photography that captured the everyday lives of his subjects from around the globe. Among the highlights are photographs taken of the Russian ballet in the 1950s. Cartier-Bresson was in fact the first Western photographer to be granted access here and these stunning images have rarely been seen on the market. From the highly recognizable Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1954, and Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris, 1932, to the rare Bolshoi Ballet, Moscow, 1954, and Dublin, Ireland, 1952, the Eye of the Century offers the opportunity for both new and existing collectors to discover the world of Cartier-Bresson.
Phillips is a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st century art and design. With dedicated expertise in the areas of Art, Design, Photographs, Editions, Watches, and Jewelry, Phillips offers professional services and advice on all aspects of collecting. Auctions and exhibitions are held at salerooms in New York, London, Geneva, and Hong Kong, while clients are further served through representative offices based throughout Europe, the United States and Asia. Phillips also offers an online auction platform accessible anywhere in the world, and is committed to supporting contemporary arts and culture through a worldwide programme of Arts Partnerships.
Visit www.phillips.com for further information.
*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium; prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium.
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