Art market Magazine September 2014

 
TRENDS 
 
Humanist photography 
overs endlessly kiss…
TRENDS

Humanist photography
overs endlessly kiss each other at the Hôtel de Ville or the Bastille; with an air of mischief and a smile on his lips, a little boy runs along the street
with a baguette under his arm… Why is it that these images so characteristic of humanist photography continue to move us? Undoubtedly because they offer an optimistic vision of existence, transforming the banality of everyday life into moments of magic: a young child evokes the carefree days of childhood; a kiss, the promise of eternal love. The universal quality of the anecdote became emblematic of the human race, a condition, a trade or a mood. The location of the photograph was essential: even if certain artists broadened their horizons, Paris was often their number one choice, with its picturesque spots, cobbled streets, staircases, Seine and pallid dawns. Humanist photo-

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to read
“La Photographie humaniste, 1945-1968: Autour d’Izis, Boubat, Brassaï, Doisneau, Ronis…”, exhibition catalogue edited by Laure Beaumont-Maillet and Dominique Versavel, BNF, 2006. Price: €39.

graphy arose in the 1930s, and its golden age lasted from 1945 until the 1960s. Henri Cartier-Bresson, Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau are the best-known exponents of the movement, which never established a school with a precise manifesto and precepts. So what was its credo? A constant faith in mankind that grew up after the horrors of the two world wars, and a certain mistrust of modernism. The expression of this belief did not deny that life was hard, especially for the lower classes, but while illustrating the humble trades, it succeeded in conveying affection for the characters staged – or, more often, taken in action, because the miniaturisation and lightness of cameras (the famous Leica came on the market in 1925, and the Rolleiflex four years later) meant that pictures could be taken quickly and unobtrusively. Humanist photographers were often reporters whose magazines disseminated their pictures, and the majority of them had undergone an artistic training that can clearly be seen in their aesthetic approach. Today, highly popular exhibitions regularly pay tribute to them, and this appeal is reflected in their sales. Since the 1970s, their photographs have become highly sought-after collectors' items. Responding to the polemic over the concept of original

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€2,478 Israëlis Bidermanas, known as Izis (19111980), "1er Mai, place Victor-Basch", Paris, 1950, silver halide print by the photographer, signed under the
image, titled, dated and stamped on the back, 28.4 x 23.4 cm. Paris, Drouot-Richelieu, 30 October 2013. Le Mouël auction house. Ms Esders.

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Art Market Magazine September 2014
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