4 May ‑ 28 Jul 2017 (every Tue, Thu, Fri) 3 ‑ 6pm (3 hours)
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Jacques Henri Lartigue (13 June 1894 – 12 September 1986) started taking photos at the tender age of 6. He was a man who rejoiced in life, a photographer with an insatiable fascination for all that surrounded him. Throughout his life, Lartigue photographed his family and friends at play – running and jumping, racing wheeled soap boxes, building kites, golf, tennis, skiing, swimming and diving, gliders and aeroplanes, climbing the Eiffel Tower and so on.
Lartigue also photographed many famous sporting events, including automobile races such as the Coupe Gordon Bennett and the French Grand Prix, early flights by aviation pioneers including Gabriel Voisin, Louis Blériot, and Roland Garros, and tennis players such as Suzanne Lenglen at the French Open tennis championships.

Lartigue was friends with many literary and artistic celebrities including the playwright Sacha Guitry, the singer Yvonne Printemps, the painters Kees van Dongen, Pablo Picasso and the artist-playwright-filmmaker Jean Cocteau. He also worked on the sets of the film-makers Jacques Feyder, Abel Gance, Robert Bresson, François Truffaut and Federico Fellini, and many of these celebrities became the subject of his photographs. Fashionable Parisian women, including his own partners and companions, were amongst his favourite subjects.

This exhibition offers a wide selection of Lartigue’s photographs which captured with fresh perception and uninhibited grace the joie de vivre of fashionable well-to-do French society during and after the Belle Époque. Lartigue’s photographs reveal his persuasive charm and deep passion for the good life. They also reflect his intense love for the world around him. In an interview for his Autochrome book published in 1980, Lartigue remarked that “this tendency to choose unpleasant subjects is part of the sickness of our times; it makes men pave their way to their purgatory. But there must be a reaction against it and a return to Beauty.” For Lartigue, the joy of living was always there to be discovered, appreciated and shared.