Picks and Pans Review: Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue

UPDATED 05/28/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT Originally published 05/28/1984 at 01:00 AM EDT

He took his first picture when he was 7 years old. Today, at 89, Jacques-Henri Lartigue is still photographing but is best known for the radiant snapshots he made of France before World War I. This enchanting exhibit of 125 pictures from the master photographer's family albums is currently touring the U.S. and will be at the Arts Center of Williamsburg (Va.) through June 15. "Photography is a magic thing," Lartigue once wrote. That point of view pervades his entire work. Simone Roussel on the Beach at Villerville (1904) has as much charm as any Impressionist painting. (Lartigue snapped the grinning Simone, his cousin, in the split second of anticipatory joy before she tossed a stick for her waiting dog.) Pillow Fight Above the Pool (1907), another intimate family shot, is as beautiful as a frame from Ingmar Bergman's Fanny and Alexander. And in 40 rue Cortambert (1905), Lartigue's cousin Bichonnade sails like a ship's figurehead down the steps of the family home. Lartigue also chronicled auto races and pioneering air feats by daredevil aces. But the most memorable images are of women, some taken when Lartigue was still a schoolboy. Many afternoons he waited with his camera in the Bois de Boulogne while mysterious veiled beauties, swathed in furs, walked their tiny dogs up and down the avenue. Lartigue's most openly sensual portraits, though, are of Renée Perle, who was briefly his lover. In one portrait she poses vamplike on a sofa, her left arm encircled with thin shiny bracelets up to her elbow. There is, indeed, a dark magic to the photograph. Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue, sponsored by the International Exhibits Foundation, opens July 1 at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. The show is scheduled to make later stops in Rockford, Ill., Claremont, Calif., Providence, R.I., Palm Beach, Fla., Oklahoma City and Madison, Wis.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters