"Willy Ronis (1910-2009) - Le Nu Provençal, 1949"Willy Ronis (1910-2009)
Le Nu provençal, 1949
Original posterior print on silver salt paper
Inked pad and handwritten notes on the back
Dimensions of the work: 18 x 12.5 cm
Dimensions of the frame: 40 x 30 cm
Born in Paris in 1910, Willy Ronis became familiar with shooting and photographic printing in the studio of his father, a neighborhood photographer. He quickly gained independence and improvised as a chronicler of the social struggles of his time, before joining the photojournalism agency Rapho in 1946. In addition to the orders placed with him, he expressed himself in a more personal way.
Willy Ronis is one of the great representatives of French humanist photography alongside Robert Doisneau and Henri Cartier-Bresson. Appeared in Paris in the 1930s, this current of photography experienced a real boom after the war. For these photographers, it is a question of restoring fragments of daily life through snapshots taken from life in the working-class districts of the capital.
As a photographer of the ordinary, Willy Ronis lets himself be surprised by the street scenes available to him and whose poetry he captures with his own aesthetic rigor. The artist reveals the beauty of everyday life that he captures in its immediacy. It gives an account of the atmosphere of districts like Belleville or Ménilmontant with kindness and delicacy.
Many times compared to the nudes of the painter Pierre Bonnard, our print was a huge success when it was published. It belongs to a series of four photographs representing the artist's wife (Marie-Anne Lansiaux) in the privacy of the house the couple owns in Gordes. Willy Ronis says that on this day in July 1949, while he is busy in the attic, he goes down to retrieve a tool and surprises his wife at the end of the nap, indulging in his toilet. Seized by the fleeting glare of this spectacle, he asks him to remain motionless, takes his camera and takes four pictures of which he will keep only this one. His wife appears in Spartan comfort, naked, from behind, facing a sink which adjoins an open window. From this scene emerges what Claude Nori calls in Les Cahiers de la Photographie a “poetic realism”.
Five French Photographers, New York, MoMA, 1953
Donation Willy Ronis, Paris, Palais de Tokyo, 1985 (first major official retrospective )
Willy Ronis in Paris, Paris, Hôtel de Ville, 2005-2006
Willy Ronis: a poetics of engagement, Paris, La Monnaie de Paris, 2010