Henri Cartier-Bresson


Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) is a major figure in 20th-century photography. He started out studying painting with André Lhote, but took his first photos quite early on. His work soon attracted notice and was published in sophisticated magazines and shown in galleries both in France and abroad. Most of his photographs were taken during his many travels (to the Ivory Coast, Europe, Mexico, India, China, Indonesia, Bali, Moscow, Cuba, Japan, USSR and elsewhere) and can be seen as photo-reportage.

In the 1940s, he began doing portraits of artists, painters and writers (Matisse, Bonnard, Braque, Claudel, Rouault and others). In 1947 he founded the photo cooperative Magnum along with Robert Capa, David Seymour and George Rodger, but he became disengaged from it later, as he devoted the last years of his life to his other passion: drawing.

In 1981, he was awarded the French Ministry of Culture’s Grand Prix National for Photography. In the year 2000, with his wife, Martine Franck, and their daughter, Mélanie, he founded the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, in Paris, which archives his work as well as showcasing the work of other artists.


Né en 1908, Henri Cartier-Bresson est une figure majeure de la photographie du XXe siècle. 

Il a d’abord étudié la peinture avant de découvrir la photographie au début des années 1930. Armé d’un Leica il a photographié de nombreux artistes tel que Matisse, Bonnard, Sarthe, Faulkner, Truman Capote… et a documenté ses nombreux voyages (Mexique, Inde, Bali, Moscou, Cuba, Japon…)

Rapidement, son travail est remarqué, publié dans des revues et exposé dans des galeries, en France comme à l’étranger.

En 1947, il fonde l’agence coopérative Magnum Photos avec Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert et George Rodger.

Il quitte l’agence en 1966 pour se consacrer au dessin et à la peinture jusqu’à sa mort en 2004.

En 1981, il reçoit le grand prix national de la Photographie, décerné par le ministre de la Culture à Paris.

Il crée en 200 avec sa femme Martine Franck et leur fille Mélanie, la fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, afin d’offrir un espace d’exposition à d’autres artistes.