Henri Cartier-Bresson Photography and Art News of the Week 15 – 21 June

Henri Cartier-Bresson / Uncredited
Henri Cartier-Bresson / Uncredited

An exhibition of Akos Ezer will be available until June 27th at Galerie Droste in Paris. Hans Hofmann, one more artist in the long line of those who have not received the deserved recognition in his time. René Magritte’s L’arc de Triomphe will be offered in London in July as a highlight at a Christie’s auction. Henri Cartier-Bresson keeps his place as one of photography’s most important figures.

Ákos Ezer paints long-legged men eating spaghetti

June 19, 2020 • Via artnet.com

Ákos Ezer, Reaching (2020). Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Droste.

The Hungarian painter Ákos Ezer graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2014, but currently lives and works in Munich. He participated in several collective and individual exhibitions throughout Europe in cities including Budapest, Prague, Munich, London, and others. Ákos describes the theme of his paintings as follows: “The heroes of my stories, with their activities, are searching for their own roots – individual histories which they have inherited from art, and especially from painting. Their movements reflect their own pasts and crystallize in their present. I think of their environment as a fabric that tries to find it’s own shape, which with its tangled fibers waits for a final arrangement. I think of the process of painting as a kind of game, where the main emphasis is on exploring.”

Gradually, galleries around the world are slowly reopening their doors. An exhibition of Akos Ezer will be available till June 27th at Galerie Droste in Paris. According to the gallery, the main protagonists of the Hungarian artist’s work are men with elongated arms and bent postures, whose gestural movements evoke moments of falling. The artist invites the viewer to reconstruct his vision of the current social structures of his native country, Hungary, and the personal efforts of everyday life associated with them.

This exhibition is worth visiting as it is the first solo exhibition of the Hungarian artist Ákos Ezer and marks the reopening of his showroom in Paris. Ezer’s work is inspired by the kind of packaged compositions, elongated limbs, and paintings outside the wall inspired by the style of other artists such as Dana Schutz and Nicole Eisenman. But Ezer brings his own acidic and humorous touch. In his compositions, the Munich painter does not use models or photographs as a basis, he only uses the knowledge of his own body and his great imagination.

Hans Hofmann, a painting genius hidden in plain sight

June 16, 2020 • Via artnews.com

Hans Hofmann: Sic Itur ad Astra (Such Is the Way to the Stars), 1962.
MENIL COLLECTION, HOUSTON. COURTESY UC BERKELEY ART MUSEUM AND PACIFIC FILM ARCHIVE.

Hans Hofmann has been one more artist in the long line of those who have not received the deserved recognition in his time. He produced most of his work at the end of his career and his paintings have featured several different styles such as cubism and fauvism, which has made him an artist difficult to qualify and value properly. He was born in Weißenburg in Bayern, Bavaria on March 21, 1880. In 1904 he settled in Paris and spent several years there learning about modern European art. He was involved with some of the leading avant-garde artists within movements such as Fauvism and Cubism.

In 1915 he managed to create his own art school in Munich, where he developed a great reputation as an instructor. In 1930 he taught on the West Coast of the United States and in 1932 he settled permanently in New York, where he lived until the end of his life. His students included Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Clement Greenberg and Mark Rothko. He helped develop Abstract Expressionism, introduced the third dimension into his paintings and believed that the act of painting carried psychological significance.

Hans Hofmann is undoubtedly a standard-bearer for 20th-century modern art. He entered the history books before his death, one month before his 86th birthday, in 1966. However, none of Hofmann’s four canvases are currently on display at the MoMA or other art museums. It is sad to know that he usually receives a respectful but passing notice in art history texts and is commonly valued more as a teacher than as a painter. As the critic, Charles Desmarais succinctly put it “Hofmann is revered by many, but rarely loved.

René Magritte’s ‘L’arc de triomphe

June 17, 2020 • Via barrons.com

Rene Magritte’s L’arc de triomphe 1962
Courtesy of Christie’s

René Magritte’s L’arc de Triomphe will be offered in London in July, this year as a highlight at a Christie’s auction. It is estimated that it will attract bids of between £6.5 million and £9.5 million (US$8.2 million and US$12 million). It was previously in the collection of the late Harry Torczyner, the artist’s lawyer in America as well as a close friend and collector. The last time it appeared on the market was at an auction at Christie’s 25 years ago.

According to Christie’s, this 1962 painting is one of the few by Magritte to be kept in private hands. The auction house did not disclose the identity of the sender of this sale. The choice of title, L’arc de Triomphe (meaning “The Arch of Triumph”), suggests that Magritte believed this composition was a triumph in his quest to depict trees, while at the same time was revealing the mystery of reality.

L’arc de Triomphe represents one of the best known pictorial elements of René Magritte’s post-war work. In this work, one can see high branches of a green tree superimposed on an extension of its own leaves. This was an idea that first took shape in an ink sketch that the artist made in a letter to André Bosmans, dated February 14, 1962.

Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of photography’s most important figures

June 18, 2020 • Via artsy.net

Henri Cartier-Bresson / Hyeres, France, 1932 / Bruce Silverstein Gallery

Henri Cartier-Bresson keeps his place as one of photography’s most important figures. He once said that a photographer has a brief moment when all the moving parts line up, revealing something honest and true about the world. For him, a composition with strength was not simply a product of chance. He chose a setting and waited for the right elements to take shape in front of his lens.

This famous French photographer is considered by many to be the father of photojournalism. Throughout his career, he had the opportunity to portray characters such as Fidel Castro, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Edith Piaf. He covered important events, such as the death of Gandhi and the Spanish Civil War. During this war, he filmed a documentary about the Republican side called “Victorie de la vie” which was released in 1937. After Stalin’s death, Cartier Bresson was the first Western journalist to visit the Soviet Union.

Cartier-Bresson came across a photograph by Martin Munkácsi called “Three Boys at Lake Tanganyika” in the early 1930s. It shows a picture with the silhouettes of three small children running towards the waves. He said after this picture that “It is that same picture that was the spark for me that ignited the fireworks and made me suddenly realize that photography could reach eternity through the moment.

In the following decades, Cartier-Bresson developed an intense activity as a war documentalist, photographer for magazines like “Life”, and was also co-founder of the photo agency “Magnum Photos”. Towards the end of his career, Cartier-Bresson cut ties with Magnum to resume drawing and painting. He said then that “Photography is an immediate reaction, while drawing is a meditation”.

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