Édouard Loydreau (French, ca. 1820-1905)
Hangars sous la neige (Sheds under a blanket of snow), Etudes Photographiques, 1st Series, No. 80, ca 1851
Salted paper print
Gift of Dan Berley; 2001:1.17

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908-2004)
Rue Mouffetard, Paris, 1954
Gelatin silver print
Gift of Dr. Robert and Margaret Leary; 2012:18.25

En Noir et Blanc: Early French Photography

February 03, 2018 to June 18, 2018

This exhibition highlights selected riches from the European collection by showcasing fourteen black-and-white works by some of the leading figures in the history of photography.  The works on view span the period from 1851 through 1969, from the amateur photographer and Pictorialist Édouard Loydreau’s Hangars sous la neige to the documentary realism of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s snapshot Rue Mouffetard, taken in Paris. Featured in the exhibition are works by Édouard Loydreau (1820-1905), Man Ray (1890-1976), Florence Henri (1893-1982), Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986), Brassaï (1899-1984), Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004), and Robert Doisneau (1912-94).

A recurring subject is the portrait. Modernist Jacques-Henri Lartigue chose to portray the movement of Parisian ladies. Brassaï’s images of Picasso (1881-1973) and an anonymous market porter contrast with Man Ray’s confident self-portrait.  More unusual are the portraits of two artist-subjects as presented through images of or in their respective homes. Doisneau portrays La Maison de Picassette, the densely ornamented abode of Raymond Isidore (1900-64), while Brassaï shows the naïf painter Mlle. Sabourdy (1893-1970) reflected in a mirror.  Florence Henri’s characteristic examination of spatial relationships in Isle d’Ouat. Bretagne seems to function simultaneously as a portrait of a chair, a human figure, and a landscape. Man Ray’s surrealistic work in the catalogue Les invendables, while not a photograph, relates to and extends this medium.

This installation from the permanent collection was curated by Eric Dil, an adjunct faculty member. We are grateful to the following donors of the works featured in the exhibition: Dan Berley, Dr. Robert and Margaret Leary, and George Wickes.