press release

Art Museum Tennis Palace will put on a retrospective exhibition of Robert Doisneau (1912–1994), a classic French photographer. The exhibition will comprise some 100 photographs from the early 1930s to the late 1980s. It will include Doisneau’s most famous and widespread image, entitled Le Baiser de l’Hôtel de Ville (The Kiss at City Hall, 1950), of a young couple kissing in front of the city hall in Paris. Most of the works in the exhibition tell stories about Paris and the daily life of Parisians. However, it also includes a fascinating selection of artist portraits.

For most of his life, Robert Doisneau was a freelance photographer, with the exception of the few years he worked for the car manufacturer Renault and the magazine Vogue. He collaborated for almost 50 years with the Rapho photo agency, which still represents him. Doisneau's daughters Annette Doisneau and Francine Deroudille now look after his life's work, managing his collection of more than 450 000 negatives at Atelier Doisneau in Montrouge, Paris.

Robert Doisneau was a humanist photographer to whom people were most important, portrayed simply in the midst of their everyday joys and sorrows. In his world, children play in a schoolyard, workers toil in factories, ordinary Parisians pass time debating in grubby corner cafés and wander in parks encountering each other – and the perceptive photographer. There is a strong feel of life in his pictures and they are warm, melancholy and humorous. Doisneau has been compared to, for example, Charlie Chaplin and Jacques Tati, whose sense of comedy is equally melancholy.

Doisneau characterised himself as a "fisherman of images", wandering without a particular purpose along the streets of the city, his baited camera ready for action. "I like the idea that things are not controlled, that I can encounter something by chance."

Robert Doisneau's retrospective exhibition will be put on in collaboration with di ChromAn and the photo agency Rapho.

only in german

Robert Doisneau
Portraying Paris