​Live and Life Will Give You Pictures: Masterworks of French Photography, 1890–1950​

October 8, 2016–January 9, 2017
Roberts Gallery

Photography was invented in France in the 1820s, and many of its most innovative and influential practitioners developed in the milieu that produced the impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern artists favored by Albert C. Barnes and featured in the collection of the Barnes Foundation.

In the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th, photographers and painters traded aesthetic ideas and were interested in many of the same features of contemporary experience, particularly as it touched Paris. Sometimes referred to as the "capital of modernity," the city was radically transformed in this period of rapid industrialization, urbanization, and class stratification. As with the other visual arts, progressive photography came to be defined by the novel ways in which it was able to represent the more spectacular aspects of these and related developments that shaped all modern cities.

To illustrate these phenomena, this exhibition, titled after a remark by Henri Cartier-Bresson, presents vintage prints of nearly 200 classic images made between 1890 and 1950 by French photographers and photographers working extensively in France. The salon-style hang will be organized thematically. Subjects include Paris and Environs, Life on the Street, Labor and Leisure, Commerce, Personality and Publicity, Reportage, and Art for Art's Sake.

Drawn exclusively from the private collection of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg, Live and Life Will Give You Pictures resonates with the core of the Barnes collection and includes work by such masters as Berenice Abbott, Eugène Atget, Ilse Bing, Erwin Blumenfeld, Brassaï, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Edgar Degas, Eugène Druet, André Kertész, Francois Kollar, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Dora Maar, Man Ray, Lisette Model, László Moholy-Nagy, and Félix Thiollier.

Live and Life Will Give You Pictures was organized by the Barnes Foundation in conjunction with Art2Art Circulating Exhibitions.


"A stunning exhibition. Knowledgeable people will recognize many pictures and be amazed they all came from the one collection, that of Mr. Mattis and Ms. Hochberg." -Wall Street Journal

Live and Life Will Give You Pictures: Masterworks of French Photography, 1890–1950 is "one of the 32 U.S. photo exhibitions you can’t miss.” —TIME magazine

"This exhibition is both a marvelous artistic display and an intensely fascinating historical document of an art form in its feisty adolescence." Broad Street Review

"The perfect complement to the museum's wealth of French impressionist and post-impressionist paintings." Elle Décor 


Sponsor Acknowledgement


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