Yvette Troispoux Le Sommeil de l'Enfant, Rome (The Baby's Sleep)
Medium Silver print
Photo Date 1950 Print Date 1950
Dimensions 9 x 4-9/16 in. (229 x 116 mm)
Photo Country Italy
Photographer Country France
Contact Alex Novak and Marthe Smith
About This Image
With photographer's stamps on verso. Photographer's signature and title in pencil on the verso. One of her most iconic images.
Yvette Troispoux ( Coulommiers, June 1, 1914 - Paris, September 11, 2007) was a French photographer coming out of the humanist photo tradition. She was a member of "30 x 40", the photography club of Paris. Troispoux was an officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and she was chosen to give Robert Doisneau his medal on March 5, 1993 at the town hall of the eighth arrondissement. A tribute to Troispoux was made during the Rencontres d'Arles in 2004.
She was always present at the openings of exhibitions with her Leica, and had the nickname "photographer of photographers." Robert Doisneau called her his "photo girlfriend" (or photo copine). He also wrote: "When she takes that old Leica that has seen so much out of her bag, it's a sign that the party can begin. Faces relax."
Born June 1, 1914 in Coulommiers, Seine-et-Marne, Troispoux, self-taught in photography, began to photograph with her Kodak Pronto, which she won in July 1933 at a photography contest organized by the local municipality. "I wanted to keep those I loved," she says simply.
Troispoux had two loves: her brother, who died young during the war, and photography, which she practiced in her spare time. Among her first portraits of her family, is one of her brother Jean at the Paris-Montparnasse train station on October 12, 1936, which she used to speak about with great emotion. This image was from the last time Troispoux saw her brother: "Ask me what is the picture which I could never separate myself from and I will answer, 'the one that I took of Jean.'"
She continued to practice photography, but only as an amateur, so as not to upset her parents. She then moved to Paris, where she worked as a clerk for 40 years in the same company, Tréfimétaux.
In 1953, thanks to the Société française de photographie, she discovered the Photography Club of Paris, called the "30 x 40", where every Thursday, a professional came to meet enthusiasts. She photographed the photographers during their visits to "30 x 40" and at various openings and dinners.
Recognition by the art world finally came to her in 1971, when she was given the Grand Prix du Club Photographique de Paris. That day she met Agathe Gaillard, which was the beginning of a friendship that lasted until the end. At each vernissage of the gallery, which opened in 1975, she took the opportunity to take a portrait of the visiting photographer as they made their presentation, hence her nickname of "photographer of photographers."
Yvette melted into the crowd, and even before the subject had recognized what was happening, she took her shot. Gisele Freund, Robert Doisneau, Edouard Boubat, Brassaï, Helmut Newton, and many others were immortalized by Yvette. She once remarked, "I think I have photographed all except Niépce, the inventor of the photograph!"
But it was only later in 1982 during her first exhibition at the Galerie Odéon-Photo in Paris that the public discovered the monumental work that she had made in secret.
Yvette was a free spirit who for 50 years took simple amateur pictures with no regard for their market value. "She came with her Leica and a couple of shopping bags; she was our mascot, and if Yvette was not there, then that the event was not important," said Francois Hébel, director of the Rencontres d'Arles. "A beautiful small bit of a woman, one full of latent modernity, one of innocence in full maturity..."
Besides portraits, Yvette Troispoux produced numerous sweet and nostalgic pictures of Paris and the banks of Seine. Her favorite subjects were always about humanity, events, landscapes. She also made--purely for the fun of it--photo essays. It was always the human testimony that interested her.
Troispoux passed away in 2007 at the age of 93.
Her photographic collection, which was auctioned at Coulommiers on June 22, 2008, was preempted by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France. Much of the rest of the photographic collection of the artist was acquired by the Musée municipal des Capucins de la Ville de Coulommiers. This museum paid tribute to Troispoux in the spring of 2009 with an exhibition of her work. With the two museum acquisitions, very little of Troispoux's work has come on the market.
A new book ("Mademoiselle Yvette Troispoux, Photographe") and an exhibition held at the Musée de Montparnasse were also organized in her honor. The book, published in late 2012 by Contrejour with the Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the help of Agathe Gaillard, Argentic and the Musée de Coulommiers, celebrates the life and work of this photographer.
Yvette Troispoux is buried in the cemetery of Coulommiers in the family vault.
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