The artistic quality of a masterpiece is perceived not just as a manifestation of savoir faire, insight and talent, but as a magic trick: “The magic of the soul in its quest for the sublime”, said André Malraux.
The artwork challenges. it said to its audience, “Stop watching me.” It does not want money, nor to be consumed. It takes time. Its stops the time of those who look at it…
Photographers Gilles Bassignac, Jean-Pierre Couderc, Alexander Lewkowicz and David Mallis like museums. They revisit in this collection some masterpieces selected by curators, collectors, gallerists, art critics …
With their sensitivity and that of the public they offer you their reflection on the masterpiece in situ.
Will you be moved by their photographic masterpieces?
Paul Sillam – Curator of the exhibition Masterpieces at the Museum
In 1985, Gilles entered the magazine “Le point”. In 1988, he joined the staff of the agency Gamma. In 2011, in partnership with Le Figaro Magazine and Editions de La Martinière, and in duet with photographer Jean-Michel Turpin, he spent several months on the roads of France to make a photographic portrait of the French on the eve of the presidential elections. The 300 portraits made are the subject of a book, The French in the lens published in 2012. In 2017, he covered the presidential campaign by simultaneously following François Fillon, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron until the Elysee. Along with his activity as a photojournalist, he has a more personal photographic column on his Instagram account.
At the same time photographer and journalist, Jean-Pierre Couderc covered, for more than thirty years, the political, artistic, literary and sporting French news for the magazine L’Express. From 1970 to 2003, he made multiple photoreportages and portraits of personalities that marked the history of the second half of the twentieth century.
Roger Viollet Parisienne Photography Fund
In 1938 Hélène Roger-Viollet and her husband Jean-Victor Fischer, both passionate about photography and frequent travelers, founded Rue de Seine the “General Photographic Documentation Roger-Viollet”, today one of the oldest French agencies. Having bought the shop of “image merchant” Laurent Ollivier and the collections it housed, Hélène Roger-Viollet and her husband added family production that they enriched after the war through a continuous effort of acquisitions. This is how they constituted a single photographic collection in Europe, covering more than a century and a half of Parisian, French and international history, around four main themes: major historical events, Paris, portraits of personalities and reproductions of works of art. The Roger-Viollet collections also offer an astonishing walk thru the history of photography, from the production of Second Empire photographic workshops to photojournalism at the end of the 20th century. When they died in 1985, the founders of the agency gave the city of Paris nearly 4 million negatives and about 2 million positives. In 2005, the agency joined the Parisian Photography Group, a local public corporation in charge of the digitization and distribution of municipal iconographic collections, with which it merged at the end of 2014.
To the exceptional riches of the Roger-Viollet collection are now added the heritage museums and libraries of the City: more than 2 million works, already digitized or reproducible on demand, from the vast collections of the Musée Carnavalet, the Historical Library, the Petit Palais and the Museum of Modern Art or more specialized institutions such as the Galliera Museum (fashion), the Forney Library (graphic arts), the Cernuschi Museum (Asian arts) or the Parisian houses of writers and artists (Victor Hugo, Balzac, Bourdelle, Zadkine).
In the galleries, the relation to the work of art is often festive! the opening night, the atmosphere is about seducing collectors, whatever the cost … The public, often turning away from the masterpieces, comes to be seen rather than contemplate his emotions in front of the work. As for the argus of the cars, at most merchants, only the value of the artist counts … – Alexandre
«A good photographer knows how to make aesthetic photos with a point of view, a technical mastery and a bit of luck»
Alexander was born in 1941 in Manitogorsk, Russia. After the war, the Lewkowicz family returned to Poland, which they had left to avoid the German invasion in 1939.
He learned photography at the National Film School “Leon Schiller” of Lódz, which saw on his benches the greatest Polish filmmakers (Wajda, Kieslowski, Polanski ..), Alexander speaks 5 languages: Polish, Yiddish, Russian , French English.
In 1961 he left Poland to flee post-war anti-Semitism. He arrived in France. Paris was to be a step towards Australia, but he settled here permanently with his brothers painters and sculptors.
Since then, he has not stopped traveling around the world. His reportage on Harlem (1964) was awarded as well as the one on the Travelers installed in the slum of the Courneuve. Today, he takes his 17 km daily trip in Paris on foot or by bike with his camera.
Member of the Polish photo agency EAST NEWS, he is represented in Paris by the Anne and Just Jaeckin gallery in the 6th arrondissement of Paris.
Why do masterpieces often belong to dead artists? As if the curators of the “temples” museums patiently waited for their last hour to consecrate them.
Will yougive a space to question what the masterpieces of living photographers give you in this book …? – David
David buys his Olympus OM10 when he turned 16 years old. He went digital in the 90’s, but he does not move anymore without its FUJI XP that fits in the hand. In museums, Mallis strolls his “photographic” unconsciousness to be inspired by the beautiful. he presents what he grasps on the fly. His camera at the end of his hand, he tracks these fleeting moments where the public and the work are mirrored. He recreates a new masterpiece born from the fusion of “the most beautiful representation of the beautiful” and the one who comes to watch … With a third eye in hand, Mallis creates impressionistic images … He realizes also photographic films mixing photos, videos, text, music.