Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Man, the Image, & the World

Article excerpt

Henri Cartier-Bresson: the Man, the Image, & the World by Robert Delpire Thames and Hudson, 2003/432 pp./$75 (hb).

On August 22, 2003, Henri Cartier-Bresson celebrated his 95th birthday. Instigated by his long-time friend, curator and publisher, Robert Delpire, a historical retrospective exhibition was organized this summer at the National Library of France in Paris. The show is currently in Spain and is scheduled to come and travel the US in 2004 and 2005. Released by Thames and Hudson, Henri Cartier-Bresson, the Man, the Image, and the World is the English version of Henri Cartier-Bresson: De qui s'agit-il?, the 432-page catalogue of the exhibition bearing the same title.

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Both the exhibition and its coffee-table "catalogue" are meant to be the comprehensive testimonies of a whole life dedicated to the transcription of a history of the twentieth century seen through an artist's eye, mind, and heart. In 1932, Cartier-Bresson who had studied cubist painting under Andre Lhote, and worked as a safari guide in Africa, discovered a brand new tool, a 35 mm camera. The Leica (model II then) was to become an extension of his eye. The book first displays those images of the early 1930s that rapidly established their author's reputation on both sides of the Atlantic, including some images that have never been published before. …