Tuesday, April 20, 2010
by Peter Schjeldahl @ The New Yorker
Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908-2004) was a taker of great photographs. Some three hundred of them make for an almost unendurably majestic retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, from his famous portly puddle-jumper of 1932 (“Behind the Gare Saint-Lazare, Paris”) to views of Native Americans in Gallup, New Mexico, in 1971, one of his last visual essays as the globe-trotting heavyweight champion of photojournalism. (Thereafter, he mostly rested his cameras and devoted himself to drawing—sensitively though not terribly well—in the vein of his friend Alberto Giacometti.) Nearly every picture displays the classical panache—the fullness, the economy—of a painting by Poussin. Any half-dozen of them would have engraved their author’s name in history. Resistance to the work is futile, if quality is our criterion, but inevitable, I think, on other grounds.
Posted by David Emerick at 12:17 PM