The Modern Century.
Photographs by Henri Cartier-Bresson. Text by Peter Glassi.
Museum of Modern Art, NY,
376 pp., 75 color and 360 duotone illustrations, 9½x12".
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) is one of the most influential and beloved
figures in the history of photography. His inventive work of the early 1930s
helped define the creative potential of modern photography. FollowingWorld
War II, he helped found the Magnum photo agency,which enabled photojournalists
to reach a broad audience through magazines such as Life while
retaining control over their work. Cartier-Bresson would go on to produce
major bodies of photographic reportage, capturing such events as China during
the revolution, the Soviet Union after Stalin’s death, the United States in
the postwar boom and Europe as its older cultures confronted modern realities.
Published to accompany an exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art,
this is the first major publication to make full use of the extensive holdings of
the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson—including thousands of prints and a
vast resource of documents relating to the photographer’s life and work. The
heart of the book surveys Cartier-Bresson’s career through 300 photographs
divided into 12 chapters.While many of his most famous pictures are included,
a great number of images will be unfamiliar even to specialists. A wideranging
essay by Peter Galassi, Chief Curator of Photography at the Museum,
offers an entirely new understanding of Cartier-Bresson’s extraordinary career
and its overlapping contexts of journalism and art. The extensive supporting
material—featuring detailed chronologies of the photographer’s professional
travels and of spreads of his picture stories as they appeared in magazines—
will revolutionize the study of Cartier-Bresson’s work.