Jacques Henri Lartigue, André Kertész. A step aside

Opening april 19, 8 pm – until september 29, 2024

The Toni Catany International Photography Centre presents a major exhibition of the work of two pioneers of modern photography: Jacques Henri Lartigue and André Kertész. Two authors deeply admired by Toni Catany, who had photographs by Kertész in his collection and a large bibliographic representation of both in his library.
This international exhibition, presented for the first time at the Espace Richaud (Versailles, Paris) in 2023, consists of nearly 150 photographs and has been curated by Marion Perceval (Donation Lartigue) and Matthieu Rivallin (Médiathèque du Patrimoine et de la Photographie of the French Ministry of Culture). The exhibition has the support of the Consell de Mallorca and the collaboration of diChroma Photography, the Ara Balears newspaper and the Universitat de les Illes Balears (UIB).

Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) is considered a great master of the snapshot and André Kertész (1894-1985), the inventor of photojournalism and an exponent of reflective photography. Their work spanned the entire 20th century and their careers were marked by successive exhibitions at the MoMA in New York in 1963 and 1964. These exhibitions were crucial: for Lartigue, considered an early amateur, they marked the beginning of international and institutional recognition, and for Kertész, rediscovery after two decades of oblivion. They also consolidated the practice of the two photographers in the first half of the 20th century, classifying them as forerunners of visual modernity.

“The step to the side is a step that deviates from the direct line, a curve that substitutes the straight line between two points (…)”. Neither Lartigue nor Kertész ever took the most direct path to recognition. They constructed their work with the utmost freedom, far removed from the major artistic movements.
From the 1970s onwards, these two independent personalities were perceived as referents without a school.
Placing the photographs of one next to those of the other makes it possible to show the confluences and divergences in their lives and in their points of view.

Jacques Henri Lartigue (Courbevoie, 1894 – Niça, 1986)

Born in 1894 in Courbevoie (Hauts-de-Seine, France) into a well-to-do family, Jacques Henri Lartigue began to photograph as a child, influenced by the amateur photographers around him and by the illustrated press. A self-taught photographer, he is best known for his early work, associated with amateurism and considered an exceptional witness to the Belle Époque, full of wit and spontaneity. Throughout his career Lartigue combined painting with photography; after a few years in which he devoted himself mainly to painting,
after the Second World War he professionalised his photographic practice, collaborating with magazines such as Point de vue, Images du monde.

Jacques Lartigue, selfportrait, 1904
Jacques Henri Lartigue © Ministère de la Culture (France), MPP / AAJHL

André Kertész (Budapest, 1894 – Nova York, 1985)

André Kertész, selfportrait, 1927
André Kertész ©  Ministère de la Culture (France), MPP, diffusion Grand Palais Rmn

Born in Budapest in 1894, he took up photography in 1912 and soon became known for his explorations, which distanced him from the pictorialism of his Hungarian contemporaries. In 1925 he moved to Paris, where he came into contact with the avant-garde and began to publish in the illustrated press his images full of allusions, with unexpected framing and the use of unusual expressive resources such as distortions and shadow play, in images that show
from a subjective point of view the life of the Hungarian diaspora, the artists’ workshops of Montparnasse, street scenes and disadvantaged people. In 1936, faced with the rise of anti-Semitism, he settled in New York, where he collaborated with magazines such as Vogue and House and Garden and where urban planning and the heterogeneous fabric of buildings and roofs offered him new photographic subjects in which he experimented with high and low-angle shots that accentuated the verticality of the architecture.