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

October 8, 2016 – January 9, 2017

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. They 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.

Drawn exclusively from the private collection of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg, Live and Life Will Give You Pictures 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.

With generous support from individual contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund: 

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt
Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz
Lois and Julian Brodsky
Joan Carter and John Aglialoro
Dan and Monica DiLella
Eugene and Michelle Dubay
Lisa D. Kabnick and John H. McFadden
Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest
Victoria McNeil Le Vine
Leigh and John Middleton
Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation
Jeanette and Joe Neubauer
Kay and Michael Park
Aileen and Brian Roberts
Adele and Harold Schaeffer
Van Beuren Charitable Foundation
Ruth W. and A. Morris Williams Jr.

Additional support is provided by the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, and the Rittenhouse Hotel.