A major figure in 20th century photography (1908-2004), Cartier-Bresson first studied painting with André Lhote, and made his first photographs very early on. Quickly, his work was noticed, published in magazines and exhibited in galleries both in France and abroad. Most of his photographs come from his many travels (Ivory Coast, Europe, Mexico, India, China, Indonesia, Bali, Moscow, Cuba, Japan, USSR …) and have a value as photo reportage. In the 1940s, he produced portraits of artists, painters and writers (Matisse, Bonnard, Braque, Claudel, Rouault…). He founded the Magnum cooperative agency in 1947 with Robert Capa, David Seymour and George Rodger.
In 1951, Robert Delpire first published his photographs in number 4 of his magazine NEUF. It was the beginning of a life-long collaboration and friendship. In the 1960s Cartier-Bresson moved away from photographing and devoted the last years of his life to his other passion: drawing. He received the National Grand Prize for Photography, awarded in 1981 by the Ministry of Culture, in Paris. In 2000, he created the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation with his wife Martine Franck and their daughter Mélanie, bringing together their archives and offering an exhibition space to other artists.