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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Jacques-Henri Lartigue

Born: Jacques-Henri Charles Auguste Lartigue 
Other: Jacques Lartigue 
Dates:  1894, 13 June - 1986, 12 September
Born:  France, Courbevoie (near Paris)
Died:  France, Nice
Active:  France
French photographer and painter. He provided an insightful collection of images of his family and their friends as they carried out their madcap activities. His early use and expertise with Autochrome, an early color process, was exceptional.
Reproduction rights are managed by:
Donation Jacques Henri Lartigue
Ministère de la Culture
11, rue du Séminaire de Conflans
94220 Charenton-Le-Pont
33 (0)1 77 01 84 20
33 (0)1 40 15 76 39

Preparing biographies

Biography provided by Focal Press 
Raised in a wealthy French family, Lartigue was given a camera by his father at age six. Though his life as a photographer and a painter spanned most of the 20th century, he is most fondly remembered for his charming childhood and adolescent photographs, most of which were unknown outside his family circle until showcased in 1963 by John Szarkowski, curator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Living a privileged life, he candidly recorded the astounding events as the century turned (the first motorcars and airplanes) and the everyday quirks of life — his cousin skipping downstairs, seeming to float in the absence of gravity, and a family friend plunging backwards into a lake. Lartigue’s uncanny perceptions and the capture of motion by the newer "snapshot" cameras has preserved a vernacular record of the end of France’s belle époque and the advent of mechanized transportation. Images by Lartigue also recorded European fashions on the street and in societal circumstances, and one of his favorite personal themes — women. Despite his reputation now, during most of Lartigue’s mature life he was known paintings.
Originally published in the Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 3rd edition by Mary Alinder. Updated by E. Ken White. 
(Author: Ken White - Rochester Institute of Technology) 
Michael Peres (Editor-in-Chief), 2007, Focal Encyclopedia of Photography, 4th edition, (Focal Press) [ISBN-10: 0240807405, ISBN-13: 978-0240807409] 
(Used with permission) 

Further research

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Bill Jay
Jacques-Henri Lartigue 
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website
Grove Art Online ( has a biography of this artist. 
[NOTE: This is a subscription service and you will need to pay an annual fee to access the content.]
 Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Beaton, Cecil & Buckland, Gail 1975 The Magic Eye: The Genius of Photography from 1839 to the Present Day (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company) p.116 [Useful short biographies with personal asides and one or more example images.] 
• Capa, Cornell (ed.) 1984 The International Center of Photography: Encyclopedia of Photography (New York, Crown Publishers, Inc. - A Pound Press Book) p.294 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Jacques-Henri Lartigue.] 
• Witkin, Lee D. and Barbara London 1979 The Photograph Collector’s Guide (London: Secker and Warburg) p.179-180 [Long out of print but an essential reference work - the good news is that a new edition is in preparation.] 

Useful printed stuff

If there is an analysis of a single photograph or a useful self portrait I will highlight it here.

• Bauret, Gabriel (ed. and text) 2001 Color Photography (New York: Assouline) [Includes example color photographs by Jacques-Henri Lartigue] 
• Gruber, Renate and L. Fritz Gruber 1982 The Imaginary Photo Museum (New York: Harmony Books) p.253 
• Koetzle, Hans-Michael 2002 Photo Icons: The Story Behind the Pictures - Volume 1 (Koln: Taschen) [This book discusses one photograph "Grand Prix de l'A.C.F. (1912)" by Jacques-Henri Lartigue in considerable detail. An excellent source for a detailed analysis.] 
• Newhall, Beaumont 1982 The History of Photography - Fifth Edition (London: Secker & Warburg) [One or more photographs by Jacques-Henri Lartigue are included in this classic history.] 
• Szarkowski, John 1973 Looking at Photographs: 100 Pictures from the Collection of The Museum of Modern Art (New York: The Museum of Modern Art) p.66 [Analyzes a single photograph by Jacques-Henri Lartigue.] 


The wit and wisdom.

"I take photographs with love, so I try to make them art objects. But I make them for myself first and foremost — that is important."
"It‘s marvellous, marvellous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I‘m going to photograph everything, everything!"
"Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, and which is true."
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