One of the great portraitists of the twentieth century, Henri Cartier-Bresson’s photographs captured people and events that changed the world. Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century is the first comprehensive retrospective of the French photographer’s work since his death in 2004, and it spans more than 30 years of his career. The exhibition opens Saturday, Feb. 19, and continues through May 29 at the High Museum of Art. Watch Atlanta INtown’s video of the press sneak preview at the end of this article.
Beginning with his early photographs inspired by Surrealism, the exhibition emphasizes the prominent themes in Cartier-Bresson’s wide range of work including portraiture, ancient customs, modern industry and crowd psychology. Photographs from his extensive travels provide glimpses of the rapidly changing world around him. Also included are Cartier-Bresson’s portraits of icons such as Coco Chanel and picture stories like the one of Mahatma Gandhi’s funeral.
In 1947, after his first exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Cartier-Bresson helped pioneer Magnum Photo Agency, making it possible for photojournalists to reach a broad audience and maintain control over their work. He was a constant traveler, and in one trip to Asia that lasted three years he produced remarkable picture stories on the independence of India and Indonesia as well as the Communist takeover in China. He was also a filmmaker, and from 1969 to 1970 he made films about California and the American South.
For more information about the Cartier-Bresson retrospective, as well as the concurrent Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition, visit www.high.org.