The Decisive Moment - Henri Cartier-Bresson 1952 - Simon and Schuster in collaboration with É, New York - First Edition in English One of the most important photography books of the 20th century, containing 126 full or double page heliogravures, considered ‘unique in providing an international portrait or impression of humanity covering the two decades prior to its publication’. Divided into two chronological and geographical sections: the first spans the years 1932 to 1947 and is made up of photographs taken in the west; the second spans 1947 to 1952 and was shot mostly in the east.

Prefaced by Cartier-Bresson’s 4,500-word philosophical essay, whose keynote ‘
There is nothing in this world that does not have a decisive moment.’ was taken from the 17th century Cardinal de Reitz.

‘The idea of the '
decisive moment' is one of the most enduring in photographic literature, and no one has articulated it better than its coiner, in his preface to this book: 'To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.’’ - David Levi Strauss.

An elusively fine copy, the book without the commonly found chips to spine, in a superior example of the delicate dust jacket, both showing the striking illustration provided by Cartier-Bresson’s friend Henri Matisse. The original 12 leaf ‘
Captions’ pamphlet laid in, as published.
  Henri Cartier-Bresson [1908-2004] trained as an artist before beginning his photographic career in the early 1930’s, spending time on the Ivory Coast, in Europe, Mexico & the USA. In 1940 he was captured by the Nazis and spent three years in prisoner-of-war camps before escaping to join the Paris resistance. From 1944-45 he took a series of portraits of writers and artists for Editions Braun, including Matisse, Braque, Bonnard, Claudel and Rouault. In 1946 he spent over a year working in the USA on the so-called "posthumous" exhibition of his work, proposed by the Museum of Modern Art in New York when he was believed to have died during the war.

In 1947 Cartier-Bresson founded the co-operative photographic agency Magnum, along with Robert Capa, David Seymour (Chim) , William Vandivert & George Rodger. 1954 marked the beginning of a long collaboration with Robert Delpire with the publication of
Les Danses a Bali. In this year he was also the first photographer to be allowed into the USSR during the period of dètente. In 1955 Tèriade published Les Europèens, with a cover by Mirö, and in 1958-59 Cartier-Bresson returned to China for three months for the tenth anniversary of the People’s Republic of China. 1963-66 he traveled in Mexico, Cuba, Japan and India.

Cartier-Bresson continued to travel and photograph until 1975 when he decided to concentrate on drawing. Exhibitions of his photographic work have maintained his presence in galleries & museums worldwide, and he has been celebrated with awards and prizes and numerous birthday celebrations. In 2003, with his wife Martine Franck & daughter Mèlanie, he opened the Fondation Cartier-Bresson, to provide a permanent home for his collected works.

Reference: Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris. David Levi Strauss,
Roth, 134-35.

Folio (book size 37x27.8cm), pp. [16] followed by 1-63 numbered plates [4 (captions)] followed by 64-126 numbered plates [5 (captions)] [1] [3 (Technical Report)] [3]. Publisher’s green blue and black over cream pictorial boards, lettered in black to spine. Copyright page with ‘In France’ added by ink stamp, as published. Dust jacket priced ‘$12.50’ to lower corner of front flap. With 12 page leaflet
The Decisive Moments - Captions.
  Condition: Fine but for a hint of toning to spine (far less than it appears in the shadowy image), and slight cracking along inner hinges, in near fine dust jacket, front panel with short closed tear to upper edges and very small chip to lower edge.   Ref: 111679   Price: HK$ 19,000