Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Dessau, Germany

Artist:
Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, Chanteloup-en-Brie 1908–2004 Montjustin)
Date:
1945, printed 1946
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
23.4 x 34.7 cm (9 3/16 x 13 11/16 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.170
Rights and Reproduction:
© Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum
Not on view
First exhibited under the title "Exposing a stool-pigeon in a displaced persons camp, Dessau, Germany," this picture transcends ordinary photojournalism, offering a thin slice of action resonant with human truth beyond the incident depicted. The picture's dramatis personae are embodiments of Rage and Shame standing before Justice with a Greek chorus in the background observing the action. The liberation of German camps and their prisoners' return to civilian life was a subject Cartier-Bresson understood deeply, having spent three years in German prisoner-of-war camps, successfully escaping to France only on his third attempt.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil on mount, verso UC: "Camp de D D de Dessay 1945 // interrogatoire d'une indicatrice // de la gestapo qui cherchait à regagner la France en se glissant // parmi des DP."; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso C, LC: "C/E58", "178 [upside down, encircled]"; inscribed in pencil on mount, verso UR: "francoise // ou belge // ? [all encircled]"; inscribed in blue ink on mount, verso LR corner: "VIII [upside down]", "6 [sideways]"
John C. Waddell

Kunst-und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. "Pantheon der Photographie," June 19, 1992–September 20, 1992.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 1," December 4, 1992–May 4, 1993.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 35," June 24, 2003–October 19, 2003.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Few Are Chosen: Street Photography and the Book, 1936-1966," November 5, 2004–March 6, 2005.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Henri Cartier-Bresson [X]," April 30, 2005–May 1, 1905.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Framing a Century: Master Photographers, 1840–1940," June 3, 2008–September 1, 2008.

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