The Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent devoted its 16th exhibition to the photographer, Gisèle Freund (1908 – 2000), whose work will be presented through a hundred prints and numerous archival documents.
Following her last retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in 1991, photographer Gisèle Freund has been credited with pioneering colour portraiture and projection photography, as well as with adapting a sociological approach to the image and to the history of photography.
Since the Fonds Mémoire de la Création Contemporaine has entrusted its recent acquisition, the archives of Gisèle Freund, to the Institut Mémoires de l’édition contemporaine (IMEC), it seems to us an opportune moment to join them in introducing Gisèle Freund to an entire generation which has had few opportunities to view her work.
A Privileged Relationship with Writers
Freund circulated at the heart of the rich Parisian literary scene, developing her reputation as a photographic portraitist for many generations of writers. Thanks to her relationships with Jean Paulhan and André Malraux and especially to her frequentation of Adrienne Monnier and Sylvia Beach’s bookstores on the rue de l’Odéon, Gisèle Freund met some of the greatest literary figures of the pre-war generation. She understood how to win the trust of writers unaccustomed to lending their image to photographic portraiture. Freund was well versed in contemporary literature and she initially used an intellectual approach to connect with her subjects. Because prints were extremely expensive, she presented her work to them using a projector and convinced them to sit for her.
1933 – 1940: A Critical Period
During the short, but fruitful period Freund spent in pre-war Paris, she completed her most important work:
• She translated and published her thesis, Photography in France in the XIXth Century;
• She undertook her first photojournalistic works, namely her documentation of the first International Congress of Writers for the Defense of Culture (1935), Depressed Areas of England (1936) and James Joyce in Paris (1938);
• She realized her first black and white portraits of writers such as André Malraux and Walter Benjamin; • She began to experiment with colour film, a new and experimental technique at the time.
Exhibition catalogue jointly published by RMN Grand Palais-IMEC, 50€ 250 pages; 60-80 documents and illustrations
Texts by Gisèle Freund, Christian Caujolle, Catherine Thieck and Olivier Corpet, Lorraine Audric
Illustrated biography of Gisèle Freund by Elisabeth Perolini
Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent 5 avenue Marceau, 75116 Paris
Tel. +33 (0)1 44 31 64 00
3 rue Léonce Reynaud, 75116 Paris Open from Tuesday to Sunday, except public holidays from 11 am to 6 pm (last entry at 5.30 P.M.) Tel. +33 1 44 31 64 31
Accessible for people with disabilities
Full price 7€ Reduced price 5€ for students, people under 25 and seniors upon presentation of a valid card less than a year old
Free for children under 10 and job-seekers upon presentation of a valid card less than a year old
Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent