Last Updated July 13, 2018

Jacques Henri Lartigue

French (Born 1894 - Died 1986 ) PREMIUM LISTING
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CONTACT DETAILS
INFORMATION
Website: Visit website
Address: Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue
Ministère de la Culture
11 rue du Séminaire de Conflans
CHARENTON-LE-PONT
94220
France
Telephone: +33 01 77 01 84 20



Documentary
Influence: Historically influential or important






DESCRIPTION / BIOGRAPHY
Jacques Henri Lartigue was virtually unknown as a photographer until 1963, when, at 69 years old, his work was shown for the first time in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. That same year, a picture spread published in Life magazine in an issue on John F. Kennedy’s death introduced Lartigue’s work to the public. Much to his surprise, he rapidly became one of the twentieth century’s most famous photographers.

Jacques Lartigue was introduced to photography at the age of 7. From then on, Jacques recorded incessantly the world of his childhood, from automobile outings and family holidays to inventions by his older brother Maurice. The two brothers were fascinated by cars, aviation and sports currently in vogue; Jacques used his camera to document them all. As he grew up, he continued to frequent sporting events, participating in and recording such elite leisure activities as skiing, skating, tennis or golf.

He also took up drawing and painting in 1915. After briefly attending the Julian Academy in Paris, he became a professional painter, exhibiting his work from 1922 on in Paris and the south of France.

Jacques circulated in high society until the early 1930s, when the decline of the Lartigue fortune forced him to look for other sources of income. But he refused to give up his freedom by taking on a steady job, and lived meagerly off his painting throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In the early 1950s, while pursuing his painting career, he also began to receive some recognition as a photographer.

In 1962, with Florette, his third wife, he sailed by cargo ship to Los Angeles. During their travels, they stopped in New York, where they met with Charles Rado, founder of the photo agency Rapho. After seeing Lartigue’s photographs, Rado introduced him to John Szarkowski, the newly appointed director of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art. Szarkowski was so impressed that the following year, he organized the first-ever exhibition of Lartigue’s work.

A retrospective of Lartigue’s photographs was held in Paris’ decorative arts museum, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, in 1975—the year after the French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, asked him to take his official portrait. In 1979, Lartigue signed an act donating his entire photographic output to the French government, the first living French photographer to do so; and mandated the Association des Amis de Jacques Henri Lartigue to conserve and promote his work. In 1980, his exhibition “Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue” was shown at the Grand Palais in Paris.

He continued taking photographs, painting and writing until his death in Nice on September 12, 1986, at the age of 92, and left behind more than 100,000 photographs, 7,000 diary pages and 1,500 paintings.

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