Nov 072011

Christie’s: 100 Photographs

November 11th, 2011

The holidays are just around the

corner, so why not treat yourself

to a photograph by Henri Cartier-

Bresson?  A slice of Master pie

would taste great for the holidays.


Allée du Prado, Marseille, France, 1932 €10,000 - €15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

What’s For Sale

This morning I had a look through the Christies on line catalogue of prints being offered by the Foundation Henri Cartier-Bresson.  The collection of images available is impressive.  These are not the reject prints or extras left over from previous sales.  The catalogue listings are contain 100 of Cartier-Bresson’s best images, like his portrait of “Henri Matisse and his Pigeons.”  When you consider that many of these images cost between $10,000-$20,000, it may be worth rethinking the next purchase of a special edition Leica.  The paint brush may be important, but the painting is more engaging.

Brie, France, 1968 €10,000 - €15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Photographs are relatively inexpensive compared to their painting cousins.  It is no longer uncommon for records to be set by sales in excess of $50 Million for a single work of art or “my kid could have done that” work of art.  But the modest numbers for Henri Cartier-Bresson will eventually increase in value.  They may not resell for millions of dollars, but I considered them to be no less valuable.

Derniers jours du Kuomintang, Beijing, Chine, décembre 1948 €30,000 - €50,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Do You Ever Own A Masterpiece

I admire the personal relationship that Cartier-Bresson maintained with his friends.  Many of the prints in circulation were given to a select individual my the master himself.  All other prints are signed by Cartier-Bresson.  In 2000 he penned a letter address these addition prints which reads:

Hand written letter of ownership by Henri Cartier-Bresson on October 30th, 2000.

“I, the undersigned, Henri Cartier-Bresson, domicilated at

198 rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris, declare what follows – I have always

signed and autographed my photographs to the people I wished to

give them to – all other prints, that are only identified with a

“Henri Cartier-Bresson” stamp or a “Magnum Photos” stamp,

belong to my own person.  Therefore, anyone in possession

of such a print cannot possibly claim in good faith that he or she owns it”

—Henri Cartier Bresson

We can picture the old man, in complete satisfaction, set down his pen and slide the paper across the table to his wife Martine.

Collection Highlights

Dimanche Sur Les Bords de Marne, France 1938. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Estimate €10,000-€15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Matisse à son domicile, Vence, France, 1944 €15,000 - €20,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Hyères, France, 1932 €10,000 - €15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Ile de Sifnos, Grèce, 1961 €10,000 - €15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Moscou, Union Soviétique, 1954 €5,000 - €7,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Mur de Berlin, Allemagne de l'Ouest, 1962 €5,000 - €7,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Notre-Dame, Paris, 1953 €5,000 - €7,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Prostituées, Calle Cuauhtemoctzin, Mexique, 1934 €10,000 - €15,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Salerne, Italie, 1933 €8,000 - €12,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Srinagar, Cachemire, Inde, 1948 €20,000 - €30,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Valence, Espagne, 1933 €8,000 - €12,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Washington, Etats-Unis, 1957 €15,000 - €20,000. © Henri Cartier-Bresson

Happy bidding!

Best-Adam Marelli


  4 Responses to “Henri Cartier-Bresson Auction”

  1. Despite my several Cartier-Bresson books, I’ve never come across that last brilliant image taken in D.C. before. Do you have any recommendations as to where I might find more of his images shot in America (preferably in book form)?

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