Lot 9
  • 9

Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004)

bidding is closed


  • Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • 'Valencia'
  • silver print, with the photographer's Photo Henri Cartier stamp on the reverse, 1933
  • 23 by 29,5 cm.


Acquired directly from the photographer


Henri Cartier Bresson, The Descicive Moment, New York 1952, unpaginated
Robert Delpire, et al, Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photographer, New York 1979, p. 89
Peter Galassi, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Early Work, Museum of Modern Art, New York 1987, p. 107
Ben Maddow, Faces, Boston 1977, pl. 495
Daniel Wolf, The Art of Photography, 1839-1989, New Haven 1989, pl. 280
Jean-Pierre Montier, Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Artless Art, Boston 1996, pl. 166, p.169

Catalogue Note

Working with a small hand-held 35 mm. camera, and cleverly combining Surrealist aesthetics with a straightforward photojournalist approach, Cartier-Bresson produced in the 1930s a body of images notable for their complexity. As Galassi points out, Cartier-Bresson's genius is evident sometimes in what he chose to leave outside the frame of a picture. In Valencia, there is no explanation present in the picture for the young boy's outstretched arms and ecstatic expression. IN fact, the boy is awaiting the descent of a ball that has just been thrown in the air. Galassi writes: ' Cartier-Bresson's visceral intuition, the Surrealist principle of dislocation, and the instantaneity of the Leica, have come together to transform the ordinary incident into an image of rapture' (ibid p.36). Galassi quotes from Ben Maddow's review of the photographer's 1947 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art: ' the ball itself, the ordinary cause, is not seen; in fact it can hardly be guessed. Because now the child has been enlarged in to a legendary figure. The wall behind him, with the whitewash coming off, is inscribed with fabulous organic shapes. The child is bending back, but as if stabbed, and suffering not pain but ecstasy. The slice of time has become enormous in importance, and its hidden meaning is now perfectly plain, though so complex it can hardly be written down' (ibid.)