Master of the Instant
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada
June 8 - August 28, 2010
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alicante, Spain, 1933, printed before 1947, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alicante, Espagne, 1933, tiré avant 1947, Musée des beaux-arts du Canada, Ottawa
This exhibition will show twenty-five of Cartier-Bresson’s gelatin silver prints from the National Gallery’s permanent collection, all dating from the 1930s and 1940s. Some of his most memorable images are included in the show: Behind Gare St. Lazare (1932), with its early-morning puddle-jumper; Valencia, Spain (1933), showing a boy rubbing against a peeling wall; Jean-Paul Sartre, Paris (1945), in which the philosopher’s pipe and furrowed brow reveal his weighty intellect; and At the Coronation Parade of George VI, Trafalgar Square, London (1938), in which the artist focuses his lens on the droll spectators.
The legendary French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson is widely regarded as the founding father of photojournalism and one of the most important figures in early twentieth century art. With his famous Leica, Cartier-Bresson was able to capture life in motion with visual wit and a keen eye for geometrical composition. In coining the term “the decisive moment,” he summed up his approach to photography as the interaction of mind, body and instinct.