The auction house Sothebhy's sold for around 11,300 euros the photograph that the French artist Henri Cartier-Bresson took in the bullring in Valencia in 1933. Roman Amphitheatre, Valencia, Spain', the name of the photograph, exceeded the firm's estimate of 9,000 euros (12,500 usd).
According to Sotheby's, the image "is in excellent condition". "As is typical of Cartier-Bresson's later prints, upon close examination under grazing light, small scattered deposits of original retouching are visible. There are two raised areas along the edge of the upper margin, corresponding to two hinge remnants on the reverse," the experts describe a snapshot that is "signed in ink and embossed in the margin".
In the autumn of 1933 the photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson travelled around Spain. He visited Barcelona, Seville, Valencia, Alicante and Madrid, where he held an exhibition at the Ateneo at the end of November, which Guillermo de Torre comments on in an article on "the new photography" in which Cartier-Bresson represents a change of model: the abandonment of experimentation for documentary photography.
Guillermo de Torre praises "the untouched beauty of his photographs", which have "a vaguely super-realist intention" when "the ghost of the unreal makes an appearance on the public thoroughfare": an example is this mysterious photo of Valencia.
Cartier-Bresson then perfected his method, the "decisive moment": patiently pursuing the motif until an agreement between form and content was reached. "The photograph must grasp this moment and hold still the balance of the whole. It is a synthesis of gaze, intuition and reason. "For me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, both of the meaning of a fact and of a precise formal order that gives the fact its exact expression".
text by Horacio Fernández
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