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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » November 5, 2008
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Cartier-Bresson at Królikarnia
November 5, 2008   
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Warsaw's Królikarnia palace is staging an exhibition of photos by Henri Cartier-Bresson, an acclaimed French photographer who died four years ago, leaving behind an impressive collection of 700,000 black-and-white pictures: the only kind of photography he practiced.

Cartier-Bresson's works are instantly recognizable. They are among the world's most frequently exhibited and published, and have appeared in the most prestigious galleries and museums since the 1930s. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the artist's birth.

Królikarnia is showing Cartier-Bresson's The Europeans series of photos taken over five years during his travels around Europe. In his work, Cartier-Bresson aspired to capture the eternal and universal. He also probed the truth about society.
Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) wanted at first to become a painter. He studied in Paris under well-known Cubist painter and sculptor Andre Lhote. Painting was a strong inspiration behind Bresson's photographs, as evidenced by the cubist geometry and surrealistic arrangement of his pictures.

In 1932, Cartier-Bresson became involved with photojournalism. He traveled widely as a photojournalist in India, Canada, Mexico, the Soviet Union, China, Cuba, and across Europe, documenting his expeditions in photo albums. He was also a theoretician: he developed the idea of what he called "the decisive moment," and published Images a la sauvette, a book of essays whose English edition was entitled The Decisive Moment. His ideas had a powerful influence on postwar photojournalism whose standards were largely set by the Magnum Photos agency founded by Cartier-Bresson together with Robert Capa, David Seymour, William Vandivert and George Rodger in 1947.


The Europeans
Exhibition open until Nov. 16
Królikarnia, branch of the National Museum in Warsaw, 113a Puławska St., tel. 0-22 843-15-86, www.krolikarnia.mnw.art.pl
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