British photographic history

Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history

Portraits of Writers from 1850 to the present day

Event Details

Portraits of Writers from 1850 to the present day

Time: November 17, 2010 to February 20, 2011
Location: Maison de Victor Hugo
Street: 6 place des Vosges
City/Town: 4e Paris
Website or Map:
Phone: +33 (0)1 42 72 10 16
Event Type: exhibition
Organized By: Maison de Victor Hugo
Latest Activity: Nov 17, 2010

Export to Outlook or iCal (.ics)

Event Description

The 200 photographs selected in this exhibition illustrate how original these collections are and how they complement each other not only chronologically but also aesthetically and thematically, bringing together the notions of ‘portrait’ and ‘masterpiece’ thanks to often unexpected comparisons and parallels.

The photographic collection at the Maison de Victor Hugo mainly features portraits of Victor Hugo, his family, his homes and his entourage, including friends The fifty or so portraits presented here emphasise the unique relationship the banned writer had with photography from the beginning. Some reveal links with photographers of the time such as Julia Margaret Cameron, while contemporary photographs taken by Olivier Mériel at Hauteville House, Guernsey, where the poet lived in exile, echo his absence.
The Roger-Viollet collections include a very large number of portraits, in particular portraits of twentieth century French writers, a favourite subject since the agency’s inception in 1938. These sets of pictures reflect both the activities of Roger-Viollet as a press agency, and the impeccable taste of its founders, Hélène Roger and Jean Fischer, who collected works by Albert Harlingue, Maurice-Louis Branger, Bernard and Boris Lipnitzki, Henri Martinie, Henri Manuel, Laure Albin-Guillot and Pierre Choumoff. About a hundred prints are on show; some were taken as reportage work at literary prize- givings or during visits to authors or publishing houses, while others are half- or full-length studio portraits. Certain portraits are presented as diptychs or triptychs, and there are also sets of pictures chosen and printed by the authors themselves.
The Maison Européenne de la Photographie collection is representative of the history of world photography from the 1950s to the present. Here, the MEP presents sixty portraits of literary figures, some of whom also feature in the Roger-Viollet collections (e.g. Colette, Marguerite Duras, André Malraux, Marguerite Yourcenar, Antonin Artaud, Philippe Soupault). Most of them have become key works in the history of photography, and were made by some of the greatest portrait photographers of the last century, for example Gisèle Freund, Denise Colomb, Edouard Boubat, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Robert Mapplethorpe, Carlos Freire, Keiichi Tahara and Marc Trivier. These portraits reflect the intense bonds that often linked major twentieth century writers and photographers, as well as the mutual admiration that grew up between them. Portraits of Allen Ginsberg and Hervé Guibert reveal profound and often intimate links between photography and literature.

Metro St Paul or Bastille
Open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 6 pm.
Admission: 6 €

Comment Wall

Add a Comment

RSVP for Portraits of Writers from 1850 to the present day to add comments!

Join British photographic history

Attending (1)

© 2022   Created by Michael Pritchard.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service