Opening: Thursday June 12, 2014, at 08:00pm.
"I rang the bell, the door opened, I shot, I then said good morning. It wasn't very polite."
Remembering Henri Cartier-Bresson, ten years after he passed away in August 2004, Michel Soskine Inc. presents at the gallery space in Madrid an exhibition showing a selection of 21 portraits by this master photographer of the twentieth century.
Throughout his entire career Cartier-Bresson captured numerous portraits, often of anonymous people, but also of relevant personalities in the arts and philosophy of his time.
Thus, this exhibition features portraits of Giacometti, Lucien Freud, Stravinsky, Jean Genet or Paul Valéry, in a selection that alternates famous images with less known ones.
They reflect a time and a context that we can envision very closely, almost intimately, as in the hands of Cartier-Bresson, the camera seems to disappear, as if no one had mediated between the subject and the viewer.
Through a fleeting glance or in the privacy of a one-to-one conversation, Cartier-Bresson captures and subtly suggests the personality of those who were prominent figures in the Paris of those years.
(1908 – 2004)
Born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne, Henri Cartier-Bresson developed a strong fascination with painting early on, and particularly with Surrealism.
In 1932, after spending a year in the Ivory Coast, he discovered the Leica - his camera of choice thereafter - and began a life-long passion for photography. In 1933 he had his first exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. He later made films with Jean Renoir.
Taken prisoner of war in 1940, he escaped on his third attempt in 1943 and subsequently joined an underground organization to assist prisoners and escapees. In 1945 he photographed the liberation of Paris with a group of professional journalists and then filmed the documentary Le Retour (The Return).
In 1947, with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David 'Chim' Seymour and William Vandivert, he founded Magnum Photos. After three years spent travelling in the East, in 1952 he returned to Europe, where he published his first book, Images à la Sauvette (published in English as The Decisive Moment).
He explained his approach to photography in these terms, '"For me the camera is a sketch book, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity, the master of the instant which, in visual terms, questions and decides simultaneously. It is by economy of means that one arrives at simplicity of expression."
From 1968 he began to curtail his photographic activities, preferring to concentrate on drawing and painting.
In 2003, with his wife and daughter, he created the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris for the preservation of his work. Cartier-Bresson received an extraordinary number of prizes, awards and honorary doctorates. He died at his home in Provence on 3 August 2004, a few weeks short of his 96th birthday.