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Pierre de Fenoyl
  • Artist (1945 - 1987)

It was by becoming Henri Cartier-Bresson’s archivist that Pierre de Fenoyl (1945-1987) discovered photography.  Before very long, thanks to his contact with the master from whom he gained knowledge and experience,  he was directing the Magnum-Photos archives in Paris (1966-1969).  In 1970, he created the first photographic gallery in Paris, the Rencontre Gallery, and co-founded the VU Agency with Edouard Boubat, William Klein, and others.  As director of the National Foundation of Photography in Lyon (which closed in 1993), he was appointed Photography Representative at the Centre Georges Pompidou, when it was founded in 1977.  In 1981, he devoted himself full-time to his own work which dealt essentially with landscape.  He embarked on a return to source and set off for Egypt to pay a “tribute to the first civilization of the image”.  In 1984, as representative for the DATAR, he developed an interest in the rural landscapes of southwestern France, around the Tarn département, where he lived.  The photographs acquired by the FRAC Centre are part of two important series which took the photographer to Egypt and Italy in the early 1980s, and then to the Tarn in 1984.  For Pierre de Fenoyl photography is “chronophotography”, the “art of time”:  with humility, the photographer records the moment of a landscape together with its subtle events, keeping traces of them, but by specifying  the place just as much as the moment of the shot.  Campaigning for a broad distribution of photography (“photographic happiness proceeds by way of reproduction”), in 1986 he created the association “La Multiplication Photographique”, which published cheap portfolios containing 12 images by contemporary photographers, printed in phototype.

Nadine Labedade