Fondation Henri Cartier Bresson has a new home in the Marais

Henri Cartier-Bresson at home, Paris 1992

Entering one’s new house is always a moving moment. When it is for Fondation Henri-Cartier Bresson, whose removal was announced for months from its Montparnasse premises on impose Lebouis, it is even more exciting. With an obvious exhibition of Martine Franck‘s pictures,  the opening becomes a faultless event. The selection of photographs made by director Agnès Sire is fun, varied and not overwhelming. It is a true celebration of a talented photographer whose husband Henri Cartier- Bresson always cherished and encouraged.

Three large rooms painted in green are the simple decor for Martine Franck’s photos

Martine Franck was 32  when she married Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1970. He was 62 and his photographic career was mostly behind him. He had decided to pick up painting and when you visited his apartment on top of a building of rue de Rivoli, all you could see where his drawings.

She had been educated in the UK and the US in a family of affluent International collectors and worked as an assistant photographer in fashion and in the theater. She created the Foundation in 2003, a few months before HCB ‘s death.

Kidechka, USSR, 1972

The selection of her pictures shown here is very International, full of humour and gives a good image of her multifaceted career. Martine Franck managed the impossible: to make a name for herself while being married to one of the most revered photographers of the XX th century.

I knew her photos of China and Tibet, some of there famous men’s portraits like Henry Moore or Nobel Prize winner Gao Xingian, but had never heard of her Irish series or seen her “Husband lib demonstration” in 1974 in New York!

Husband Lib demonstration, 1974, New York

Like me you will discover very fine shots of landscapes and street scenes, moving pictures of HCB’s house in Drôme near Apt. The foundation will remain a research center as well as an exhibition space for photographers. With the remarkable work already accomplished in its former space, it will be forever the strict and serious extension of two brilliant photographers’ lives.

Located in a courtyard off rue des Archives, the foundation has a good book shop

Now that it is located a few hundred meters from the Musée de la Cahsse et de la Nature and not very far from the Pompidou center, it will also be very busy. So do not miss the opening days… “Double the emotion”, 79 rue des Archives, Tuesday to Sunday, 11 am to 7 pm.

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