An exhibition of extraordinary photographs by the legendary Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986).
Born in France in 1894, Lartigue was a privileged child. Using his Father’s camera he took his first photographs at the age of six. This was the beginning of what would become a lifelong diary, creating an enduring record of 20th century life. Lartigue obsessively photographed his family and friends, building up an extraordinary archive of photo-albums spanning 80 years, creating a unique and compelling record of an epoch.
This exhibition focuses primarily on Lartigue’s fascination with the joys of love and life, enveloped in exquisite glamour. His charming and delightful photography captured with beauty and panache, the intimacies of family life and high society and the infancy stages of aviation and motoring.
These images record the high society carelessly frolicking in the south of France, the wealthy at play. Drenched in fun and laughter, these images of Lartigue’s friends in all manner of splendid games, sun bathing, swimming and cheekily cavorting leave one with a liberated sense of joy.
Lartigue’s legacy encompasses a total of 117,577 black-and-white negatives and colour transparencies, and nearly 40 per cent of his work is in colour. His colour photography began with autochrome images in his youth, and in the 1950s he started using Ektachrome film. The impressive collection spans nearly the entire 20th century, from the first photo he took in 1902 as an eight-year-old boy, to the final image taken in 1986 at the age of 92. He could capture fleeting moments of happiness like no other. Lartigue’s oeuvre offers a light and cheerful perspective on life in the early 20th century.
The key to Lartigue’s images, characterised by a keen eye for composition, was a clear passion for his subjects, and an ability to create timeless photographs from the most fleeting of moments.
Although Lartigue occasionally sold his pictures to the press and exhibited at the Galerie d’Orsay alongside Brassaï, Man Ray and Doisneau, his reputation as an important figure of the modern era was photographer was not truly established until 1963, when he was 69, with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Worldwide fame came three years later with his first book, The Family Album, followed in 1970, Diary of a Century, which was conceived by photographer Richard Avedon.
"He has shown us laughter.” Richard Avedon
Today the Lartigue name is synonymous with quality and commands the highest respect. His work continues to be exhibited extensively internationally, with countless solo exhibitions in institutions & museums worldwide.
His acquaintances in the world of the arts included Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau, while his passion for movies saw him work as still photographer with Robert Bresson and Federico Fellini.
The key to Lartigues images, characterised by a keen eye for composition, was a clear passion for his subjects, and an ability to create timeless photographs from the most fleeting of moments.
In 1975 Lartigue had his first French retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. For the rest of his life he was busy answering commissions from fashion and decoration magazines. He died in Nice on 12th September 1986.
Today the Lartigue name is now synonymous with quality and commands the highest respect. His work continues to be exhibited extensively internationally, with countless solo exhibitions in institutions & museums worldwide. Consequently, the images of J.H. Lartigue are included in the majority of key museum and photography collections worldwide.
The world seen through his resolutely optimistic lens, is one of pleasure, leisure and great style. Lartigue is considered by many to be one of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century.