Henri Cartier-Bresson died in 2004 and is remembered as one of the most important French press photographers of the past century (he co-founded Magnum Photos agency in 1947). In 2003, he and his family decided to create this foundation in order to conserve his works and to organize lectures and exhibitions related to photography.
Not to be confused with contemporary art orientated Fondation Cartier which is in the same neighborhood, Fondation Cartier-Bresson is located in an elegant building (once an artist studio, as there were many in Montparnasse) in a small and isolated cul-de-sac. A bench and 5 birches confer an original charm to the place. The building has four floors, with the reception (plus vast convenient free lockers) on the ground floor, exhibition rooms on the first and second, and a relaxing space on the third floor.
Temporary exhibitions are not focused only on Cartier-Bresson’s photographs, but generally display other artists whose style, period or favourite themes are similar to Cartier-Bresson’s.
The top floor is a relaxing area with a dozen of Cartier-Bresson’s photographs, and a resource centre, with books and audiovisual material.
On Wednesday evenings, it’s possible to visit the foundation for free between 18:30 and 20:30 (last admission 20:00). For photo lovers on a budget, it can thus be combined with the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (check the Maison Européenne de la Photographie article), also free on Wednesdays after 17:00.
Current exhibition: Sergio Larrain (until 22nd December 2013)