The Foundation is housed in an elegant artist's studio in the
Montparnasse area of Paris near the Gare de
Montparnasse and dates back to 1912 although it had to be restored and was opened to the
public in 2003.
The French photographer Henri Cartier Bresson was born in Chanteloup, Seine-et-Marne in
1908 and he developed a strong fascination with painting particularly with Surrealism from
very early on, but it was on a trip to Africa in around the year 1930 that he purchased
his first camera, a Leica that is now on display in this building, which was when his
life-long passion for photography was born.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was considered to be the father of modern photojournalism and the
master of candid photography mainly working in black and white, plus he helped develop the
street photography style that has since influenced generations of photographers to
follow. And although he took lots of famous portrait photographs, because he was
normally behind the camera, there are not many pictures of him and his face was very
little known to anyone.
But Henri Cartier-Bresson achieved international recognition for his coverage of Gandhi's
funeral in India in 1948 and he received an extraordinary number of prizes, awards and
honorary doctorates in the years before he died at his home in Provence in 2004.
Most of the space in this narrow glass building with its art deco roof that is also glass
and luminous, houses temporary exhibitions from other artists, photographers, film-makers
and sculptors whose works follow the same spirit of Henri Cartier-Bresson. Plus on
the top floor of this foundation you can view his original prints, contact sheets,
drawings, publications and correspondence from his travels around the world in which to
document countries, wars, artists, celebrities and politicians.
The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson is a small and intimate museum just like the Musee Maillol or Musee
Rodin and you can take the time to consider the deep roots that photography has had on
The museum is closed on Mondays and also between 24 December and 16 January each
year. You will find that it is not open early in the mornings, the earliest being on
a Saturday when it opens at 11am and closes at 6.30pm. On a Wednesday, this museum
foundation has a late night opening when it opens the doors at 1pm but doesn't close until
8.30pm although any other days of the week it closes at 6.30pm.
Address & Contact Details:
Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
2 Impasse Lebouis
Telephone: 1 56 80 27 00