Henri Cartier-Bresson. In America



Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art

From 16th June to 11th November 2018

Curated by Maurizio Vanni

From 16th June to 11th November 2018 the Lu.C.C.A – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art turns on the spotlights on the photographic exhibition “Henri Cartier-Bresson. In America” curated by Maurizio Vanni, organized in collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, with the support of MVIVA.
The exhibition, which consists of 101 black and white images, brings together the pictures that the Parisian photographer – founder of Magnum Photos together with Robert Capa, George Rodger, David ‘Chim’ Seymour and William Vandivert – made in the United States from the middle of the 30’s, when he first visited the country, till the end of the sixties. These pictures managed to capture the reality and the essence of American life at the time, showing in particular the diversity of the rich American society.
“Henry Cartier-Bresson – underlines the curator Maurizio Vanni – sets his sights on the consumer society par excellence and on its ephemeral world, placing its timeless, durable and solid art on the fragility and fugacity of a community that has lost the true meaning of existence. The persuit of utopian life, devoted to excess, to dreams, to greatness, to breaking conventions, to technology turns out to be closer to fiction than to reality, which manifests itself in all its banality, despair and crudeness“.
“There was a lot of glitz in America in the sixties and seventies, yes and in the forties, the era of images” – writes Arthur Miller – but obviously Cartier-Bresson tried to leave everything behind in order to get to the essence of the American society. And since his was a basically tragic vision, he reacted with more sensitivity to what he saw in America and perceived as its decline and its pain”. The American landscape moved to the background, while the human element, the value of people and their gestures were reinforced.


FRANCE, 1908-2004 

1908 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 3rd August 2004, a few weeks short of his 96th birthday.

Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art, Lucca
16th June – 11th November 2018
curated by Maurizio Vanni
Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art
Via della Fratta, 36 – 55100 Lucca tel. +39 0583 492180
www.luccamuseum.com | [email protected]

Visiting Hours:
From Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 7 pm
Closed on Monday

Tickets: Full 9 €; Reduced 7 €
Opening 15th June ore 17,30 (with invite)
Organization: Lu.C.C.A. – Lucca Center of Contemporary Art
In collaboration with: Henri Cartier-Bresson Fondation, Magnum Photos, MVIVA
With the partnership of: Regione Toscana, Comune di Lucca, Opera delle Mura, Camera di Commercio di Lucca, Confindustria Toscana Nord, Confcommercio Province di Lucca e Massa Carrara, Confesercenti Toscana Nord, Confartigianato Imprese Lucca
With the support of: Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Lucca, Gesam Gas+Luce.
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