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Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Museum

The Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson is a great addition to the City of Paris for photography and is dedicated to display works of the artist Henri Cartier-Bresson and temporary exhibitions from other photographers.

Henri Cartier-Bresson always wished to start his own foundation and with his wife and daughter, he created the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris for the preservation of his work. Today, you will find that the foundation is home to the artworks and archives of this great photographer along with temporary exhibitions from other artists.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

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Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Museum Paris

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 Montparnasse.

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

Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson Museum

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