Cameron, Julia M.
Coburn, Alvin L.
Talbot,William H. Fox
Documentary, Fine Art
Biography: Jacques Lartigue was born in Courbevoie, France
on June 13, 1894. He took his first photographs at the age of
six, using his fathers camera, and started keeping what
would become a lifelong diary. In 1904 he began making photographs
and drawings of family games and childhood experiences, also capturing
the beginnings of aviation and cars and the smart women of the
Bois de Boulogne as well as society and sporting events. An unfailingly
curious amateur, he tried out all the available techniques, tirelessly
recording the fleeting moments and meticulously arranging his
several thousand images in large albums. However, it would seem
that photography was not his true vocation. In 1915 he attended
the Académie Jullian: painting was to remain his professional
activity and from 1922 onwards he exhibited in the salons of Paris
and southern France.
His acquaintances in the world of the arts included Sacha Guitry
and Yvonne Printemps, Kees van Dongen, Pablo Picasso and Jean
Cocteau, while his passion for movies saw him work as still photographer
with Jacques Feyder, Abel Gance, Robert Bresson, François Truffaut
and Federico Fellini.
Although Lartigue occasionally sold his pictures to the press
and exhibited at the Galerie dOrsay alongside Brassaï, Man
Ray and Doisneau, his reputation as a photographer was not truly
established until he was 69, with a retrospective at the Museum
of Modern Art in New York and the publication of a portfolio in
Life. He now added his fathers first name to his own surname,
becoming Jacques Henri Lartigue. Worldwide fame came three years
later with his first book, The Family Album, followed in 1970,
by Diary of a Century, conceived by Richard Avedon. In 1975 he
had his first French retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs
in Paris. For the rest of his life, Lartigue was busy answering
commissions from fashion and decoration magazines.
He also produced the official photograph of the new French president,
Valéry Giscard dEstaing.
He died in Nice, France on September 12, 1986.
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