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Fondation Folon : Jacques Henri Lartigue : Suspended Moments


Jacques Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) and Jean-Michel Folon met in the early 1970s. Having become friends despite the forty years that separated them, the French photographer and the Belgian illustrator, painter and sculptor were part of the same family of spirit.

Nestled in the autumnal setting of a magnificent park in Walloon Brabant, the Folon Foundation presents more than 120 photos which tell the story of Lartigue, starting at the Belle Epoque with images of relatives, elegant people in the Bois de Boulogne and the pioneers of aviation, and up to the official portrait of President Giscard d’Estaing and the experiments of the final years.

From the status of amateur to that of professional, from the influence of cinema to color shots, the steps towards global recognition of the photographer are placed in their context. Without unnecessary didacticism but in a precise evocation, the proposed path underlines the role of the successive wives and muses of the master as well as the role played by fashion photographers Hiro and Richard Avedon.

Having gained access to press orders thanks to the Rapho agency and following the exhibition at the New York MOMA in 1963, Lartigue, who never hesitated to crop and recompose his prints, revisited his images. The exhibition sheds light on this rereading of the pictures by their author who reinvented his own life, mixing reality and its interpretation. By relying on his networks and his wife Florette, archivist and distribution agent for the old photographs, Lartigue managed to skillfully mix his multiple facets — private, public and professional, constructing and reconstructing a work always marked by the mischievous character of its author and which reveals itself over time as more diverse and richer. The stays in the United States provided Lartigue with the keys to success by playing on an attraction to nostalgia and images of an ancient world. A Diary of a Century, published in 1970 with comments by Lartigue, established the artistic respectability and notoriety of a Frenchman who introduced Americans to the Belle Epoque. Richly documented, in particular owing to the presentation of the albums composed by Lartigue and to moving documents that highlight the friendly complicity of the two men and Folon’s sense of poetry, the exhibition shows the pleasure of photographing of a master of instantaneous images who succeeded from childhood to combine a playful look with a mastery of the technique. What emerges is the continuity of an approach which remained aloof from the major artistic movements, but also the constantly pleasing testimony of a photographer who never departs from his inventiveness, drawing on his own environment the material of a chronicle that covers practically the entire 20th century. By freezing these moments full of humanity, Jacques Henri Lartigue’s autobiography in images offers a spontaneity that speaks without detour. This refreshing style is in contrast to the seriousness of trends in today’s photography too often confined to the illustration of a concept, taking us back to the very essence of photography. Photo credit: photograph Jacques Henry Lartigue, Ministry of Culture (France), MPP-AAJHL; the French Documentation for the portrait of President Giscard d’Estaing. Exhibition produced in collaboration with the Jacques Henry Lartigue Donation. English texts of presentations and photo captions are provided.

Roland Deglain


Jacques Henri Lartigue : Moments suspendus
October 7, 2023 – January 14, 2024
Fondation Folon
Drève de la Ramée 6/A
1310 La Hulpe, Belgium

Tuesday-Friday 09:00-17:00
Weekend: 10:00-18:00

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