Masters of Photography: Robert Doisneau
Robert Doisneau (April 14, 1912 - April 1, 1994) was a French photographer noted for his frank and often humorous depictions of Parisian street life.
Robert Doisneau was one of France's most popular and prolific reportage photographers. He was known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of Kertész, Atget, and Cartier-Bresson, in over 20 books Doisneau has presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments. Doisneau has written: "The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street."
Among his most recognizable work is Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. The identity of the couple was a mystery until 1993, when Denise and Jean-Louis Lavergne took Doisneau to court for taking the picture without their knowledge. This action prompted Doisneau to reveal that he posed the shot in 1950 using actor/models Françoise Bornet and Jacques Carteaud. Françoise was given an original print as part of her payment. In April 2005 she sold the print for 155,000 € at an auction. All in all Paris was one of the favorite photographic subjects of Doisneau. Doisneau's work gives unusual prominence and dignity to children's street culture; returning again and again to the theme of children at play in the city, unfettered by parents. His work treats their play with seriousness and respect.
The Estate of Robert Doisneau is currently represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, New York.