Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is a legendary figure in photography, well known for his ability to capture the "decisive moment" through the lens of his Leica 35 mm camera. Along with Dr. Erich Salomon and Alfred Eisenstaedt, he was a pioneer in available light photojournalism. In 1955 Cartier-Bresson was the first photographer to exhibit in the Louvre. Considered to be the father of photojournalism, Cartier-Bresson was also unique in that he bridged the world of art and photojournalism.
The first major retrospective exhibition since his death consists of an overwhelming 300 prints, seventy-five percent of which are on loan from the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation in Paris. "Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century" originated at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, April 11-June 28, 2010, was on exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago, July 24-October 3, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, October 30-January 30, 2011, and continues on exhibition at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta from February 16 to May 15.
Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloupe-en-Brie, Seine-et-Marne, near Paris, the oldest of five children. However, he grew up in one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Paris near Parc Monceau. His father was a wealthy textile manufacturer who provided a comfortable life for his family. Cartier-Bresson first attended Ecole Fenelon, a Catholic school that prepared students for the Lycee Condorcet, from which he was graduated.
Founded in 1803, Lycee Condorcet's graduates include Felix Nadar, Marcel Proust, and Henri Bergson. Stephane Mallarme and Jean Paul Sartre were among its former faculty. After graduation, he attended Magdalene College at the University of Cambridge for a brief period studying English literature, but spent most of his time painting.
As a child, Cartier-Bresson acquired an early love of oil painting through his uncle, …