Jacques-Henri Lartigue

Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Mardi Gras with Bouboutte, Louis, Robert and Zissou, Paris, 1903, gelatin silver print, 12 x 16 inches, signed by artist with JHL blind stamp in margin

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Biographical Information

(French, 1894–1986) Jacques Henri Lartigue was an artist known for his photographic images of automobile races, planes, and Parisian fashion models. Born in Courbevoie to a wealthy family, Lartigue began taking photographs at a young age, and went on to study painting at the Académie Julian in Paris from 1915 to 1916.

Though he always considered himself a painter first, it was his work as a photographer that earned him a following. After finishing his studies, the artist began photographing sporting events and fashionable women around the city. These photographs were characterized by an informal approach to their subject matter, and often captured a sense of movement. Throughout his career, he was known for taking pictures of everything he came into contact with, and supported himself by selling his paintings

Lartigue’s photographs came to international attention in the early 1960s, and were shown at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In particular, the works were praised for their departure from the formal, posed images typical of early photography, as well as for their charming depictions of everyday subjects.

In 1975, Lartigue was made a chevalier of the Legion of Honour. A collection of his work, Diary of a Century, was published in 1970 in collaboration with photographer Richard Avedon. After his death, his works continued to be influential, with film director Wes Anderson citing him as inspiring particular moments in several of his films. In 2015, a major exhibition of his photographs was presented at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

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