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Arles 2023 : Anne Clergue Galerie : Jacques Léonard : Les Gitans


Anne Clergue Galerie presents the exhibition Les Gitans by Jacques Léonard (1909-1994), through 43 photographs of the gypsies from the 50s to the 70s in Barcelona, Huelva, Toulouse and Les Saintes Maries de la Mer.

When Jacques Léonard discovered Spain in 1952, he immersed himself in Barcelona’s gypsy community through his encounter with Rosario Amaya, a magnificent gypsy woman from the Montjuïc district in Barcelona. He married after an assiduous courtship. He is instantly integrated into the family, and for twenty-five years he will witness all ceremonies: christenings, weddings, family celebrations, dancing and singing. Coming from a cinema background, Jacques Léonard has retained a sense of observation and a way of framing his photos that are uniquely his own. His gaze is always imbued with kindness and gentleness.

His images convey a sense of absolute freedom. The life of a community who travels by caravans and settles far from cities, as close as possible to nature. Women wash their clothes in streams, men work in the fields. We are enchanted by children’s laughter, guitars, and dancers.

This exhibition leaves room for vintage prints, with 19 never-before-seen pictures. The 24 current silver gelatin prints, produced under the supervision of the heirs, were made for the first time by Barcelona’s Rebel lab Photo laboratory at the gallery’s request.

In 2020, we were deprived of the Rencontres d’Arles due to the pandemic. The gallery presented Jacques Léonard’s photographs for the first time in France through the exhibition Alegria. The success of this exhibition was followed by another one at Galerie Durev in Paris.

Today, the Musée Réattu in Arles is devoting its first retrospective in France with L’esprit nomade.

The Jacques Léonard Family archives constitute more than 20,000 images. They are managed by the Fundacion Photographic Social Vision in Barcelona. It is with great passion that we selected together this series Les Gitans. I am extremely grateful for their help and their confidence and I thank the Léonard family for their renewed trust.


Jacques Léonard : Les Gitans
July 4 – August 26, 2023
Anne Clergue Galerie
4 plan de la cour
13200 Arles

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