November 26, 2019 – November 1, 2020
André Kertész (1894-1985) led the Modernist movement in photography, and determined photography’s experimental joie de vivre for the 20th century. Kertész’s unique vision and curiosity set the standard for the new, handheld 35mm camera. He knew how to be in the right place at the right time, anticipating, then capturing, images of grace, intrigue, and surrealist wit. During his years in Paris, Kertész was a mentor to Brassai and Henri Cartier-Bresson, showing them how to work and “see” as street photographers – a novel practice in the late 1920s. Cartier-Bresson said, “Whatever we have done, Kertész did first!”
The 52 photographs in this exhibition cover seven decades of Kertész’s prolific career, beginning in 1915 and concluding in 1984. Some are well known, others are examples of his experimentation with form and light. The photographs were a gift to the Harn Museum in 2018 through the generosity of three private collectors.