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Henri Cartier-Bresson "Calle Cuauhtemoctzin"

Henri Cartier-Bresson "Calle Cuauhtemoctzin"

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From: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Limited Edition: 45
Exhibition: Henri Cartier-Bresson, The Modern Century
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 72" (88cm x 182cm)

Hanging Hardware Included


Considered a founding father of modern photojournalism, Henri Cartier-Bresson was a master of capturing beguiling images of everyday events. He also traveled far and wide with the uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time to record so many of the world's historic moments. He was the first western photographer allowed in the Soviet Union after Stallin's death in 1953, and his photographs chronicled the independence of India and Indonesia as well as the industrialization of China.


Armed with a Leica 35-mm camera, Henri Cartier-Bresson led the emergence of photographic artistic modernism and gave rise to the popularity of picture magazines in the early 20th century. He said, “I prowled the streets all day, feeling very strung-up and ready to pounce, determined to ‘trap’ life—to preserve life in the act of living.”

This exhibition was the first comprehensive retrospective of Cartier-Bresson’s wide range of work since his death in 2004. It examined Cartier-Bresson’s prominent themes of portraiture, ancient customs, modern industry, and crowd psychology, including picture essays of Ghandi’s funeral and China’s fall to Communism, and the iconic image of Coco Chanel.

Calle Cuauhtemoctzin (1934-1935), the photograph on the front of this banner, is characteristic of Cartier-Bresson’s gift to portraiture, the ability to speak visual metaphors. His intimate and tightly framed image focuses on the prostitute peering out from a cat flap door in the bottom foreground, while the top background is suggestive of the available room upstairs. The back of the banner is black with the title, “The Art of Looking” and two exhibitions listed, “EXPOSED/Oct 30-Apr 17” and “HENRI CARTIER-BRESSON/Oct 30-Jan 30.” SFMOMA’s logo appears at the bottom.

The banner also promoted the exhibition Exposed, a study of the use of the camera for unsettling purposes, such as surveillance, stalking celebrities, and pornography.


This banner was displayed around the San Francisco area between October 30, 2010 and January 30, 2011. SFMOMA was the third stop on the tour of this exhibition, first being the Museum of Modern Art, New York, followed by the Art Institute of Chicago. After leaving San Francisco, the exhibition traveled to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta (February 19-May 29, 2011).

About the Artist

Learn more about Henri Cartier-Bression


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