Jacques Henri Lartigue

As early as six years of age, the young Jacques Lartigue showed a strong interest in photography. He developed his taste for this “eye-trap” alongside his father, who was himself, a banker and engineer, and most noticeably, an amateur photographer. In response to his son’s craze, he offered him his very first camera: a 13 x 18 cm chamber made of wood.  From then on, Lartigue wouldn’t cease to capture the world around him: Paris, Chamonix, as well as the French Riviera, where he would permanently settle in 1960. Throughout his life, he successfully attempted through his lens, to seize these moments of joy and retain them forever.

Obsessed by the passage of time, he took notes of the daily weather. Similarly, he tirelessly compiled and classified his images in a total of 135 albums, which are currently kept at the Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue. He chronicled his life as a privileged child to an artist who gained notoriety later on in life, through 117,000 photographs, among which almost one third are in colour.

In 1912, he finally got a taste of colour photography, which had fascinated him since the tender age of 5. Created by Lippman, the auto-chrome process was patented and commercialized by the Lumières brothers. Using a Klapp Nettel 6x13, he perpetuated in 87 stereoscopic glass plates his memories as a young, oblivious man, sensitive to female beauty, with a passion for sport and other outdoor activities. However, the strain involved in the shooting process didn’t match with his own wish; to “catch something marvellous that happens in a split-second”. Consequently, from 1927 until 1948, Lartigue would only devote himself to black and white photography. Finally, at almost 60 years of age, the technical progress allowed him to grab the fleetingness of a moment in colour. Using a Rolleiflex 6x6, he mainly favoured the square format, which remained pertinent to the contemporary eye up until the 70s, while also shooting in 24x36 with his Leica. His photographs are not so much imbued with the energy of those first auto-chromes anymore; rather, they express a feeling of peace and fulfilment.

This same period of time also witnessed Lartigue’s rise to fame. Indeed, while he did gain some notoriety as a painter in the 30s, his second trip to the United-States in 1962 and more particularly his meeting with John Szarkowski, back then a young director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, marked a turning point in his career. Enthused by Lartigue’s photographs, Szarowski offered him a solo exhibition at his museum the following year, entitled “The Photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue”. It was then that Lartigue added his father’s first name, Henri, to his own. With Florette by his side, his muse and model, he became the internationally renowned photographer whom we know of today. In 1979, he donated the entirety of his body of work to the French state, which beyond its informative aspect remains an ode to the joie de vivre.


Jacques Henri Lartigue's biography (pdf)
Jacques Henri Lartigue's press kit (pdf)
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13 June, Jacques Lartigue is born in Courbevoie, near Paris, in the home of his parents, Marie Haguet and Henri Lartigue. His older brother, Maurice, nicknamed «Zissou,» was born on August 2, 1880. They are considered one of the wealthiest families in France.

Jacques Lartigue uses his father’s camera to take his first photos. He starts noting his thoughts and impressions on scraps of paper. This is the beginning of his diary.

Henri Lartigue gives Jacques his first camera : a 13x18 cm model with a manual shutter. The young boy takes and develops photographs on his own and starts pasting them into albums, the contents of which he later reorders. In all, he would leave put together 130 of these books.

The cameras given to him by his father are increasingly sophisticated, light and easy to handle. Now he can shoot anything, even in motion. He can also create a three-dimensional effect using a stereoscopic camera (in the years up to 1928, he takes some 5,000 stereoscopic pictures).
He learns how to use multiple exposures and photographs “ghosts.”

Fascinated by flying machines, Jacques and his brother begin to make frequent trips to airfields. They witness the test flights of the first airplanes.

Thanks to Jacques’ membership card for the Ligue Aérienne, a club to which all the pilots of the day belong, he is able to photograph such notable early aviators as Garros, Latham, Paulhan, Lefèvre, Farman and Blériot.

During the course of his strolls in the Bois de Boulogne, Lartigue photographs the fashionable “élégantes.” He sells his first pictures, to the newspaper La Vie au Grand Air.

artigue acquires a new stereoscopic camera, a folding Nettel 6x13 which allows him to take panoramic views.
His father gives him a Pathé film camera. The following year he sells his first sports films to a newsreel company.

In January, he photographs Santos-Dumont, Graham White and Max Linder at Saint-Moritz.

January: in Chamonix, he takes film footage and still photos of the brother of Ferdinand de Lesseps on his propeller-driven sled.
August 3: Germany declares war on France. Jacques Lartigue is deferred from the draft for reasons of health.
Jacques Lartigue decides to become a painter and attends the Académie Jullian.
May 19: he meets Madeleine Messager, whom he nicknames “Bibi.”
December 17: Jacques Lartigue marries Madeleine Messager. Her father, the composer André Messager, is a former director of the Opéra Comique in Paris, Covent Garden in London and the Paris Opera.

His father buys a Hispano-Suiza 32 HP. Jacques makes much use of the car to travel around France.
He devotes more and more time to painting: bouquets, gardens and portraits are his favorite themes.
He produces his finest autochrome plates in the park of the Château de la Garoupe, on the Côte d’Azur.
August 23: birth of his son, Dani.

artigue exhibits at the Galerie Georges Petit and at several Parisian art salons. This is the beginning of his career as a painter. He meets the colorist Kees Van Dongen.
Also at this time, he makes the acquaintance of Maurice Chevalier and the film director Abel Gance, who on several occasions suggests that they work together.
This is also the beginning of his friendship with two French stage stars, Sacha Guitry and Yvonne Printemps.

His father experiencing financial issues, he sells the family castle in Rouzat. Jacques looks for a job but quits after three days, unable to let go of his freedom.

Birth of his second child, Véronique. Yvonne Printemps and Sacha Guitry are the godparents. The baby lives only a few months.

March: Jacques Lartigue meets Renée Perle, a model of Romanian origin. For the next two years she is his companion and his favorite model for paintings and photos.
He exhibits once again at the Galerie Georges Petit and at the Salon d’automne.

March 12: he marries Marcelle Paolucci, or “Coco”, as she is called. Her father is head electrician at the Cannes and Deauville casinos.

artigue has acquired a certain reputation as a painter – and now has to earn a living with his art. Like Van Dongen and Picabia, he offers his services as an interior decorator, working on the galas at the Cannes casino: “Fleurs et Papillons,” “Gala multicolore,” “Grande Duchesse” and “Marché aux fleurs,” etc.
His exhibition of portraits (Van Dongen, Sacha Guitry, Marlene Dietrich, Georges Carpentier and Joan Crawford) at the Galerie Jouvène in Marseille is a great success.

January 12: he meets Florette Orméa in Monte Carlo.

August 28: he marries Florette Orméa.
The couple divides its time between Paris and Piscop in Val-d’Oise.

September : Lartigue attends the first Cannes International Film Festival, originally planned for 1939. Long a habitué of the film studios, he becomes an annual fixture at this event.

He acquires a Rolleiflex 6x6 and starts taking color shots again, selling a number of photos to the press.

While a guest of André Dubonnet at Cap d’Antibes, he meets a young, little-known American Senator, John F. Kennedy. Ten years later, the issue of Life magazine covering JFK’s assassination also carries the first major article on the photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue.

Foundation of the society Gens d’Images with Lartigue as vice-chairman.
Albert Plécy publishes Lartigue’s photos in Point de vue et Images du Monde.

Gens d’Images organizes a photography show at the Galerie d’Orsay in Paris with works by Brassaï, Doisneau, Man Ray and Lartigue.

Jacques travels to Havana with Florette for an exhibition of his paintings. Fidel Castro and his guerrillas have just begun their campaign in the Sierra Maestra. Jacques is forced to leave his canvases behind when he journeys on to Mexico and New Orleans.

Lartigue buys and moves into a house in Opio, near Grasse.

While in New York, he presents his early 20th-century photos to Charles Rado of the Rapho agency and to John Szarkowski, Director of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art.

Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, entitled The Photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue. Publication of a portfolio in Life. His reputation as an outstanding photographer has been established.

26 August :Jacques Henri Lartigue is appointed official photographer to mark Valéry Giscard d’Estaing’s seven years as president.

First French retrospective of Lartigue’s work at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs de Paris : Lartigue 8x80.
Jacques does photo shoots for fashion and decoration magazines. He takes photographs in Guernesey during the filming of «Adèle H» by François Truffaut with Isabelle Adjani.

June 26: Lartigue signs over his entire photographic output to the French government.

The donation is celebrated by an exhibition, Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue, at the Galeries Nationales of the Grand Palais, Paris. Then it goes on world tour.

September 12: death of Jacques Lartigue in Nice



Lartigue, la vie en couleurs, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (France)
« Lartigue’s Riviera », Turku Art Museum (Finlande)
« J.H. Lartigue, un amateur de génie », Museo Ettore Fico, Turin (Italie)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, le plus grand photographe amateur au monde, Fuji Film Photo History Museum (Japon)
Lartigue père et fils, Musée de Colmars les Alpes (France)
Lartigue père et fils, Château de la Messardière, Saint-Tropez (France)
« La vie au grand air », The Epoch Museum, WenZhou (Chine)

Platinum, Master Prints from 31 Studio, The Fox Talbot Museum, Lacock Abbe (Grande Bretagne)
On the Move, Kunst im VDA, Behrenstrasse 35, 10117 Berlin (Allemagne)

Jacques Henri Lartigue, a vida em movimento, Institut Moreira Salles, San Paolo (Brésil)
Bibi, Photobiennale, Maison de la Photographie, Moscou (Russie)
Shoji Ueda et J.H. Lartigue, Metropolitan Museum of Photography de Tokyo (Japon)
Winter in Amsterdam, Gallery Vassie, Amsterdam (Pays-Bas)
La Belle Epoque, J.H. Lartigue, Domaine de Trevarez (France)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, Bibliothèque des sciences et technologies, Université catholique de Louvain (Belgique)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, diario de un siglo, Valladolid (Espagne)
Lartigue : La vie au grand air, Festival Foto Lianzhou, Candy Factory (Chine)
Iconic Photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue – the Platinum Prints, Canberra (Australie)
Festival Photographique de Mérignac, Exposition sur les vitres de l’aéroport (France)

Picasso and the Camera, Gagosian Gallery, New York (Etats-Unis)
Lignes de front, le tennis en 14-18, Musée de la Fédération française de tennis (France)
François Truffaut, l’exposition, Cinémathèque française, Paris (France)
Défilé Alpin : La Mode et la Montagne du 18e siècle à nos jours, La Châtaignière, Yvoire (France)
Nouveau musée consacré à Valery Giscard d’Estaing, Château d’Estaing, Estaing (France)
François Lartigue, Villa Beatrix Enea, Anglet (France)

Bibi, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles (France)
The Photographers Gallery, London (Grande Bretagne)
Vive la vie (coup de coeur de Robert Delpire), Festival photo de La Gacilly (France)
Rivages, Maison de la Photographie, Toulon (France)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, a vida em movimento, Institut Moreira Salles, Rio de Janeiro (Brésil)
Iconic Images of Lartigue, the platinum prints, William Mora Galleries, Melbourne (Australie)
Lartigue, l’émerveillé, Jeu de Paume, Château de Tours, Tours (France)
Chic, le sport, Saut Hermès au Grand Palais, Paris (France)
Les envols, Musée français de la carte à jouer, Issy-les-Moulineaux (France)

Désir de Collection, Espace Malraux, Lyon (France)
Surgis de l’ombre, Galerie Alain Paire, Aix-en-Provence (France)
Tamara de Lempicka, Pinacothèque de Paris (France)

Movement, Fundacion Municipal de Cultura, Valladolid (Espagne)

Double je, Jacques Henri Lartigue, peintre et photographe, Musée d’art et d’histoire Louis Senlecq, L’Isle-Adam (France)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, un monde flottant, Première présentation à la Caixa Forum, Barcelone (Espagne)

Lartigue, effort et volupté, Rendez-vous de l’Histoire de Blois, Maison du Loir-et-Cher, Blois (France)

J.H. Lartigue pendant la Belle Époque, Guangdong Museum of Art, Er-sha Island, Guangzho (Chine)

La Belle Epoque, Festival Fashion and Style organisé par The Moscow House of Photography, Moscou (Russie)

Lartigue ou l’art du fugitif, Tenniseum de Roland Garros, Fédération Française de Tennis, Paris (France)

Jacques Henri Lartigue : a boy, a camera, an era, University of Florida (Etats-Unis)
Il faudra inventer d’autres mots quand on voudra raconter le paradis, Galerie Blondeau à Genève (Suisse)

Lartigue en hiver, Musée Alpin, Chamonix (France)
Lartigue, l'album d'une vie, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (France)
Jacques Henri Lartigue au Pays Basque, Casino Bellevue, Biarritz (France)

La côte d’azur de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Hôtel de Sully, Paris (France)

Rétrospective d'un amateur de génie, Bunkamura Museum of Art – Shibuya, Tokyo (Japon)

Souvenirs de mon bonheur, Galleria Art Hall, Séoul (Corée du Sud)
Lartigue centenary, The Photographers' Gallery, Londres (Angleterre)
Lartigue a cent ans, Espace Electra, Fondation Electricité de France, Paris (France)

En route monsieur Lartigue, Grand Palais des Champs Elysées, Paris (France)

Jacques Henri Lartigue à l'école du jeu, Grand Palais, Paris (France)
Jacques Henri Lartigue, Tarazona, Valence, Logrono, Pamplona, Gijon, Bilbao, Huesca, 1991-1992 (Espagne)

Rivages, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris (France)
Volare, Galerie Eralov, Rome (Italie)

Les envols de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Grand Palais, Paris (France)

Moi et les autres, Grand Palais, Paris (France)

Le bonheur du jour 1902-1936, Théâtre Valli à Reggio-Emilia (Italie)

Le troisième oeil de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris (France)

Femmes de mes autrefois et de maintenant, Grand Palais, Paris (France)

Bonjour Monsieur Lartigue, International Center of Photography, New York (Etats-Unis)

Vingt années de découverte à travers l'oeuvre de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Ouverture d'une salle d'exposition permanente au Grand Palais, Paris (France)
Sacha Guitry et Yvonne Printemps, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris (France)
Paysages, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris (France)
Tennis, Grand Palais des Champs-Elysées, Paris (France)

Bonjour monsieur Lartigue, Exposition d'accueil de la Donation, Grand Palais, Paris (France)

Expositions réalisées et présentées avant la donation

Lartigue 8 x 80, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, première grande rétrospective de Jacques Henri Lartigue en France, Paris (France)

The photographs of Jacques Henri Lartigue, Musée d'Art Moderne de New York (Etats-Unis)

Première présentation de photographies de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Galerie d'Orsay, Paris (France)



Lartigue, la vie en couleurs, Textes de Martine d?Astier et Martine Ravache
Editions du Seuil, 2015

Ueda Shoji & Jacques Henri Lartigue, Play with photography, Textes de Martine d'Astier, Gabriel Bauret, Kaneko Ryuichi, Suzuki Yoshiko
Editions Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo 2013

Chic, le sport, Textes de Thierry Terret et Anne-Marie Garat
Editions Actes Sud, Coédition Hermès, Arles 2013

D'air et d'eau, Textes de Martine d'Astier, Michel Frizot et Shelley Rice
Editions Hazan, Paris 2013

Jacques Henri Lartigue, l?invention d?un  artiste, Texte de Kevin Moore (traduction de Thomas Constantinesco)
Editions Textuel, Paris 2012

Un mundo flotante, fotografias de Jacques Henri Lartigue, Textes de Florian Rodari, Martine d?Astier, Andres Hispano
Editions La Caixa

Double je, Jacques Henri Lartigue, peintre et photographe 1915-1939, Textes de Anne-Laure Sol, Patrick Chaleyssin, Lydia Harambourg, Clément Chéroux
Editions Somogy, Paris 2010

Jacques Henri Lartigue Une vie sans ombre, Texte de Martine d?Astier
Editions Gallimard, collection Découvertes, Paris 2009

La Belle Epoque, photographs by Jacques Henri Lartigue, Textes de Salma Zarhloul, Laura Ning et Martine d'Astier
Beijing, China 2008

Lartigue et les autos de courses, Texte de Pierre Darmendrail
Éditions Motors Mania, Pau 2008

Lartigue ou le plaisir de la photographie, Texte de Claire Stoullig
Editions Somogy, Paris 2004

Jacques Henri Lartigue Hidden depths, Texte de Bill Hibbert
Design for life, Great Britain 2004

Jacques Henri Lartigue the invention of an artist, Texte de Kevin Moore
Princeton University Press, New Jersey 2004

En route Monsieur Lartigue, Texte de Dany Lartigue
Maeght éditeur, 2004

Lartigue, l'album d'une vie, Martine d'Astier, Alain Sayag et Quentin Bajac
Editions du Seuil/Centre Pompidou, Paris 2003

Jacques Henri Lartigue - Carnets d?été à Trouville-Deauville,
Editions Cahiers du temps, Cabourg 2003

Jacques Henri Lartigue - Les tourments du funambule, Texte de Patrick Roegiers
Editions de la Différence, Paris, 2003

Lartigue en hiver, Texte de Elisabeth Foch
Editions Flammarion, Paris, 2002

Jacques Henri Lartigue au Pays Basque, Texte de Olivier Ribeton
Edition Atlantica, Paris, 2002


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