French legend Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the great photographers of the 20th century and a major proponent of modern photojournalism, died last week at age 95. Cartier-Bresson was also a founding member of Magnum in 1947.
LCI, a private French tv station, reported that Cartier-Bresson died in the south of France Monday. The French newspaper Liberation said the photographer was buried Wednesday in a quiet family ceremony at Monjustin, in the Provence region.
"France has lost a photographer of genius, a true master, one of the most gifted artists of his generation and one of the most respected in the world,'' said President Jacques Chirac.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was born in Chanteloup, near Paris, on Aug. 22, 1908. He began taking pictures with a simple box camera in the 1930s. In World War II he spent three years in a German prison camp, escaped twice (was caught, and then escaped again). After he escaped, He joined the French resistance.
It can be argued that the publication in 1952 of "Images a la Sauvette'' (''The Decisive Moment'') marked the height of his photography skills, although he continued publishing many collections such as "China in Transition,'' "The People of Moscow,'' "Balinese Dancers'' and "The Europeans.''
Cartier-Bresson quit Magnum in 1966, but continued to take photographs, living in Paris with his second wife, photographer Martine Franck. Later he abandoned the camera for his favorite medium--drawing. Last year April he set up the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, or The Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation, which is located at 2 Impasse Lebouis, Paris in the 14th arrondissement. The five-story atelier of glass and steel houses the Cartier-Bresson archive.
Two floors are devoted solely to exhibition space. The shows focus on the work of Henri Cartier-Bresson, including his drawings, paintings and writings, as well as his photographs. Open to researchers, the foundation runs a program of conferences, debates and lectures, thus assuring Cartier-Bresson's legacy.