Images À La Sauvette

Images À La Sauvette

Henri Cartier-Bresson is currently on view until April 23, 2017 at Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, Paris. The exhibition is devoted to Cartier-Bresson’s famous publication Images à la Sauvette. It has been successful since publication in 1952.

Images to Sauvette is the result of the combined work of famous art publisher, Tériade; a talented photographer and painter at the height of his career, Matisse; and two American publishers, Simon and Schuster. Cartier-Bresson sees the book as the culmination of his work. In the 1930s, he met Tériade, the creator of Verve, whom he later described as his master of thought.

The desire to impose the strength of images as the only form of narrative and the place given to the photographer’s text make Images à la Sauvette an extremely innovative work. Very large format, the book proposes a mock-up of audacious purity, which allows the 24 x 36 to deploy fully. The gravure printing, by the best craftsmen of the time, the Draeger brothers and the spectacular cover of Matisse make it a model of the kind. In the spring of 1951, Cartier-Bresson explains: “If our proofs are beautiful and perfectly composed (and they must be), they are not photos of salons … In short, our final image is that of Printed”. This statement clearly positions Images à la Sauvette as an artist’s book.

The exhibition presents a selection of period prints as well as numerous archive documents related to the adventure of this book, until its recent reprint in facsimile by Éditions Steidl. This reissue is accompanied by a booklet with an essay by Clément Chéroux on the history of the book.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, born 1908 in Chanteloup, France, is a French photographer and a pioneer in photo-journalism, because he established photojournalism as an art form. In 1927 he started a two-year course in painting under notable early Cubist, André Lhote, then moved to Cambridge University to engage himself further in art and literature courses. Cartier-Bresson wandered around the world with his camera, becoming totally immersed in his current environment. Considered one of the major artists of the 20th century, he covered many of the world biggest events from the Spanish Civil War to the French uprisings in 1968.

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