The Musée des Avelines, in partnership with the Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (MAP), is offering to discover the diversity and modernity of André Kertész’s photographs (1894-1985) published in the journal Art et Médecine.
Debat Pharmaceutical Laboratories, founded in 1920 by Dr. François Debat (1882-1956), emblematic figure of the city of Saint-Cloud, published from 1929 to 1938 the journal Art and Medicine. This is a monthly luxury free magazine issued to the medical profession. Quality publication with neat printing, one scrolls through her pages to see photographs made by avant-garde authors such as François Kollar or Germaine Krull, accompanied by texts by recognized writers like Henri Bordeaux, Francis Carco, Jean Cocteau, François Mauriac, Paul Morand or Pierre Mac Orlan. From 1931 to 1936, André Kertész, Hungarian photographer, naturalized American in the 1940s, important author of the Parisian art scene during the inter-war years and spiritual father of the photographers Brassai and Henri Cartier-Bresson, will become one of the magazine’s main contributors: he published 292 photographs in more than 25 issues. The exhibition, co-produced with MAP, presents 80 modern prints based on Kertész’s black and white negatives preserved by this institution.
A first space will highlight the links of François Debat, all at once doctor and patron, with the Parisian avant-garde of the 1930s, whom he receives generously in his villa of Tourneroches in Saint-Cloud.
He was especially the friend of the writer Maurice Maeterlinck who owned the Orlamonde villa in Nice, a social center where the latter organized many receptions. Several portraits in situation like those of Marie Laurencin, Maurice Maeterlinck, Pierre Mac Orlan or Francis Carco will be exposed but also photographs of interior like the residence of Bernard Boutet de Monvel.
A second space will present regional reports of Kertész that were published in the journal Art and Medicine (Dunkirk, Brittany, Savoie, Corsica, Rouen, Basque Country …) and the views of popular Paris and Ile-de-France . Exhibited according to themes characteristic of the art of Kertész (water, night, landscapes, characters, the views and the streets), the photographs, more emotional than objective, invite the spectator to a poetic stroll in the heart of France in the 1930s.
Each photograph is imbued with a personal vision where the everyday becomes unusual, with empathy towards the little people. Texts, authors and reportages will be placed next to the photographs.
A third space will recall the medical aspect of the journal Art and Medicine which also published articles related to health. Several reports from Kertész are devoted to hospitals or childcare. Printed advertising boards of the products sold by the Debat laboratories will also be shown to the public, the sale and promotion of these drugs being one of the objectives of this review.
Art and Medicine quickly became the place where Kertész could bring out the poetry of his images, giving free rein to his sensitivity. His photographic views (dive views, night photographs, close-ups, distortions) are often new forms, works of art in their own right. The last room will therefore present more avant-garde works by Kertész published in the journal of Dr. Debat whose layout leaves the photographer the freedom of reframing. Even if the latter does not abandon himself to total abstraction, he renounces images that signify something while still representing subjects related to reality. The work of André Kertész, which speaks of humanity, has had a decisive influence on the recognition of photography as an artistic discipline in its own right.
France from Saint-Cloud – André Kertész and the magazine Art et Médecine (1929-1938)
Museum of Avelines
60 Gounod Street