Jacques-Henri Lartigue, un dandy à la plage
He was the son of the eighth fortune in France, and had no need to work to make a living so he dedicated his life to a major art, painting – without much success. Another leisurely activity made him famous, late in life, photography (he “burst out” with his monographic exhibition at the MoMA in 1963). His father gave him a camera at the age of 7, thanks to which Jacques-Henri Lartigue (1894-1986) was able to click away at his daily life for seventy five years of his life. The sea took up a lot of his time –and film. Being a wealthy man, Lartigue spent a lot of time on the Riviera in the twenties with the pioneers of the summer, much before the invasion of paid vacations. Together with his various female companions, all very photogenic (Bibi, Renée, Coco, Florette), he swam, played ball, sped in his convertible along the roads overhanging cliffs or rested in palaces in Antibes, ignoring the sound and the fury of the world, that of the war in particular. The book shows a pristine coast (from Etretat to Biarritz, from Saint-Tropez to Nice), and is also a diary of the high-society in which Cocteau, composer André Messager (Bibi’s father), Sacha Guitry and even young JF Kennedy.
Review published in the newsletter #463 - from 9 March 2017 to 15 March 2017