Paul Smith has curated two simultaneous exhibitions showcasing rarely seen photographs by influential French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue, taking place at London’s Michael Hoppen Gallery and Paul Smith Albemarle Street.
J. H. Lartigue… c’est chic! presents images from Lartigue’s archives spanning the 50s, 60s and early 70s, the latter era of the photographer’s oeuvre that Michael Hoppen says has seldom been examined.
“The Jacques Henri Lartigue Archives are still maintained carefully by the Ministère de la Culture in France and it was there that Paul and I sat down and discovered, to our delight, that Lartigue’s ability at revealing the joy and essence of the people he had photographed was still very much intact during the later part of his life,” says Michael Hoppen, “and that the images had been virtually unseen by his fans worldwide. This exhibition will certainly ignite new interest in this latter part of his career.”
Smith has selected the photographs for the shows from a huge trove of imagery, aiming to explore how Lartigue’s knack for observing and capturing beautiful moments carried on to his later years. “My father was an amateur photographer,” Smith comments, “and his way was always the ‘caught moment’. I’ve always admired Henri Lartigue as the master of the caught moment; so many of his best photos are about a spontaneous moment. And of course, his work is all on film so he’d never know until he was back in the dark-room what would appear!
“It was an honour and a privilege when Michael invited me to look through Lartigue’s huge archive, go through all the thousands of photographs and scrapbooks and narrow the selection down to these few. The exhibitions could’ve been 20 times the size they are.”
J. H. Lartigue… c’est chic! curated by Paul Smith opens 31 May – 28 July at Michael Hoppen Gallery, Jubilee Place, London; and 2 June – 28 July at Paul Smith, Albemarle Street, London.
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