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Jacques Henri Lartigue
Jacques Henri Lartigue

Jacques Henri Lartigue

Country: France
Birth: 1894 | Death: 1986

Jacques Henri Lartigue is 69 years old in 1963 when he first presents a selection of his many photographs taken throughout his life in New York’s MoMa. That same year there is a photo spread of his work in the famous Life Magazine issue which commemorates the death of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and which is publicized worldwide. To his great surprise, Lartigue becomes, overnight, one of the renowned photographers of the twentieth century.

Jacques learns about photography from his father as early as the year 1900. Henri Lartigue rewards Jacques’s enthusiasm by buying him his first camera when he is 8 years old. Thus begins the endless coverage of his childhood, including automobile outings, family holidays and especially his older brother Maurice’s (nicknamed Zissou) inventions.

Both brothers are fascinated by cars, aviation, and all sports with increasing popularity at the time. Jacques’s camera freezes each moment. As an adult he continues to attend sporting events and to take part in elite sports such as skiing, skating, tennis and golf.

However, ever mindful of the passage of time, photography is not quite enough to capture his childhood memories. A snapshot cannot encompass all there is to say and to remember. He thus begins keeping a journal and will continue to do so his whole life. Furthermore, as if to engage in a more renowned activity, he takes up drawing and painting. In 1915 he briefly attends the Julian Academy and thus painting becomes and remains his main professional activity. From 1922 on he exhibits his work in shows in Paris and in the south of France. In the meantime, in 1919, Jacques marries Madeleine Messager, the daughter of the composer André Messager, and their son Dani is born in 1921. Jacques and Madeleine get a divorce in 1931.

He revels in high society and luxury until the beginning of the 1930’s until the decline of the Lartigue fortune forces him to search for other sources of income. He refuses however to take on a steady job and thus lose his freedom, and so he scarcely gets by with his painting during the 30’s and 40’s. In the beginning of the 1950’s and not in accordance with the legend in which he is a complete unknown, his work as a photographer is noticed. He nevertheless continues to paint.

He embarks on a cargo ship to Los Angeles in 1962 with his third wife Florette. In a roundabout way, they stop on the East Coast and meet Charles Rado of the Rapho Agency who in turn contacts John Szwarkoski, MoMa’s photography department young curator. There is all-around enthusiasm. The first retrospective of his work is held in Paris’ “Musée des Arts Décoratifs” in 1975. One year earlier, Lartigue was commissioned by the President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing to shoot an official portrait photograph. In 1979 the Donation Agreement is signed and Lartigue becomes the first living French photographer to donate his work to the nation. He authorizes the Association des Amis de Jacques Henri Lartigue to preserve and promote the fund. In 1980, his dream of having his own museum comes true with the Grand Palais’ exhibit “Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue”. He continued his work as a photographer, painter and writer until his death in Nice on September 12th 1986. He was 92 years old.

He left us with more than 100 000 snapshots, 7 000 pages of diary, 1 500 paintings.

Source: Jacques-Henri Lartigue Donation

 

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Alfred Stieglitz
United States
1864 | † 1946
Through his activities as a photographer, critic, dealer, and theorist, Alfred Stieglitz had a decisive influence on the development of modern art in America during the early twentieth century. Born in 1864 in New Jersey, Stieglitz moved with his family to Manhattan in 1871 and to Germany in 1881. Enrolled in 1882 as a student of mechanical engineering in the Technische Hochschule (technical high school) in Berlin, he was first exposed to photography when he took a photochemistry course in 1883. From then on he was involved with photography, first as a technical and scientific challenge, later as an artistic one. Returning with his family to America in 1890, he became a member of and advocate for the school of pictorial photography in which photography was considered to be a legitimate form of artistic expression. In 1896 he joined the Camera Club in New York and managed and edited Camera Notes, its quarterly journal. Leaving the club six years later, Stieglitz established the Photo-Secession group in 1902 and the influential periodical Camera Work in 1903. In 1905, to provide exhibition space for the group, he founded the first of his three New York galleries, The Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession, which came to be known as Gallery 291. In 1907 he began to exhibit the work of other artists, both European and American, making the gallery a fulcrum of modernism. As a gallery director, Stieglitz provided emotional and intellectual sustenance to young modernists, both photographers and artists. His Gallery 291 became a locus for the exchange of critical opinions and theoretical and philosophical views in the arts, while his periodical Camera Work became a forum for the introduction of new aesthetic theories by American and European artists, critics, and writers. After Stieglitz closed Gallery 291 in 1917, he photographed extensively, and in 1922 he began his series of cloud photographs, which represented the culmination of his theories on modernism and photography. In 1924 Stieglitz married Georgia O'Keeffe, with whom he had shared spiritual and intellectual companionship since 1916. In December of 1925 he opened the Intimate Gallery; a month later Duncan Phillips purchased his first works from Stieglitz’s gallery, paintings by Dove, Marin, and O'Keeffe. In 1929 Stieglitz opened a gallery called An American Place, which he was to operate until his death. During the thirties, Stieglitz photographed less, stopping altogether in 1937 due to failing health. He died in 1946, in New York. The Collection contains nineteen gelatin-silver photographs of clouds by Stieglitz. Source: The Phillips Collection All images © Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, Gift of Georgia O'Keeffe
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