Henri Cartier-Bresson was the acknowledged ‘master of the moment’. With this presentation of around 100 photographs and 7 drawings by the renowned French artist, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is featuring another pioneering figure in its series of “Great Modernist Photographers”, which has to date included Brassaï, Lee Miller and Edward Steichen. Born in a suburb of Paris in 1908, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographic career began in 1930 and continued until 1972, when he decided to concentrate all his energies on drawing. After escaping from a German prisoner-of-war camp in 1943 he joined the French Resistance, and in 1947 he co-founded the now world-famous Magnum photo agency with four colleagues. On his extensive travels around the world Cartier-Bresson always worked with an unobtrusive Leica rangefinder camera that enabled him to select the right shot within a fraction of a second and capture the “decisive moment”. Following the major survey exhibition held in Berlin in 2003, the Wolfsburg show examines this particular aspect of Cartier-Bresson’s work on the basis of a selection of photographs compiled by the artist himself (who died in 2004) under the heading of Paysages (Landscapes). Cartier-Bresson’s wife and fellow photographer Martine Franck has generously agreed to lend a rare group of his drawings from her private collection.
(Picture: SOWJETUNION. Armenien. Besucher eines Dorfs am Sewansee. 1972. © Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos)