1894 - 1986
Born in France in 1894, Lartigue was a privileged child and using his father’s camera took his first photographs at the age of six. This was the beginning of what would become a lifelong diary, creating an enduring record of 20th century life. Lartigue obsessively photographed his family and friends, building up an extraordinary archive of photo-albums spanning 80 years, creating a unique and compelling record of an epoch.
The world seen through his resolutely optimistic lens, is one of pleasure, leisure and great style. Lartigue is considered by many to be one of the greatest photographers of the 20th Century, and for someone who never intended his photographs to be exhibited, they have quite rightly become the absolute last word in French style, glamour and luxury.
Lartigue’s legacy encompasses a total of 117,577 black-and-white negatives and colour transparencies, and nearly 40 per cent of his work is in colour. His colour photography began with autochrome images in his youth, and in the 1950s he started using Ektachrome film. The impressive collection spans nearly the entire 20th century, from the first photo he took in 1902 as an eight-year-old boy, to the final image taken in 1986 at the age of 92. He could capture fleeting moments of happiness like no other. Lartigue’s oeuvre offers a light and cheerful perspective on life in the early 20th century.
Although Lartigue occasionally sold his pictures to the press and exhibited at the Galerie d’Orsay alongside Brassaï, Man Ray and Doisneau, his reputation as an important figure of the modern era was photographer was not truly established until 1963, when he was 69, with a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Worldwide fame came three years later with his first book, The Family Album, followed in 1970, Diary of a Century, which was conceived by photographer Richard Avedon. Today the Lartigue name is synonymous with quality and commands the highest respect.