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Jeu de Paume : Photographic Masterpieces of MoMA : The Thomas Walther Collection


For the first time in France, the Jeu de Paume presents until February 13th 2022, the collection of Thomas Walther, one of the pillars of the modern MoMA collection. Of the 350 photographs of which it is composed, the Parisian exhibition brings together around 230 images presented for the first time in France and which can retrace the history of the invention of modernity in photography. If part of this collection was presented at MoMA in 2014 in an exhibition curated by Sarah Meister and Quentin Bajac, the Jeu de Paume exhibition unveils in a world premiere the latest acquisitions of the New York institution of 2017.

Comprising iconic works from the first half of the 20th century, the ensemble allows to write a history of European and American avant-garde photography. Through the works of a hundred photographers, from Berenice Abbott to Karl Blossfeldt, from Claude Cahun to El Lissitzky, from Edward Weston to André Kertész, between masterpieces and lesser-known images, the collection traces the history of the invention of modernity in photography. Combining genres and approaches (architecture and urban views, portraits and nudes, reports, photomontages and experiments …), the exhibition explores the artistic networks of the interwar period, from the Bauhaus to surrealist Paris, by way of Moscow and New York.

Through its radical visual invention, the whole finally perfectly captures the spirit of utopia of those who wanted to change images to change the world and fully understands the words of the photographer and theorist Lazlo Moholy-Nagy who a century ago, asserted that “The illiterate of the future will not be illiterate but ignorant of photography”.


Curators: Sarah Meister and Quentin Bajac.


Photographic masterpieces from MoMA. The Thomas Walther Collection is curated by The Museum of Modern Art, New York


MoMA Photographic Masterpieces: The Thomas Walther Collection

Until February 13, 2022

Jeu de Paume

1, place de la Concorde

75001 Paris




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