30 October, 2019
The exhibition « Henri Cartier-Bresson: Retratos | Portraits » is presented from 30 October 2019 to 12 April 2020 at the Edifício da Alfândega in Porto, in collaboration with Magnum Photos and the Fondation HCB.
During his long career Henri Cartier-Bresson realised many hundreds of portraits, of personalities as well as unknows. In 1998, for his book “Tête à Tête”, he explores his negatives and selects 121 portraits which constitute now this exhibition. The earliest images from this serie date from the thirties, the period during the one he buys his first Leica and travels through Europe with his friend André Pieyre de Mandiargues; he begins to elaborate his photographic style. The last portraits, imbued with serenity, have been taken at the end of his photographic career, when Cartier-Bresson decides to leave photography for returning to his first passion, the drawing.
All these portraits reflect the twentieth century, the richness of HCB’s work and his taste for literature and painting: from Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Simone de Beauvoir in the forties, through Robert Doisneau in 1986, in passing by Marilyn Monroe, Alberto Giacometti and Coco Chanel in the sixties.
Through these portraits Henri Cartier-Bresson succeeds in capturing in one second the eternity of the eyes, the inner silence of a willing victim.
Henri Cartier-Bresson was used to say: “portrait is like a courtesy call of fifteen or twenty minutes. We can not disturb people more longer, like a mosquito ready to bite”.