Jeu de Paume – Paris is closed. Reopening on 10 October

Masterworks of Modern Photography 1900-1940

The Thomas Walther Collection

From 14 September 2021 to 13 February 2022

In 2001 and 2017, The Museum of Modern Art in New York acquired more than 350 photographs from the collector Thomas Walther. This collection, which is now one of the pillars of MoMA’s modern collection, is presented for the first time in France in an exhibition of some 230 images.

Comprising iconic works from the first half of the twentieth century, the exhibition provides a history of the European and American photographic avant-gardes. Through the works of a hundred or so photographers, from Berenice Abbott to Karl Blossfeldt, from Claude Cahun to El Lissitzky, from Edward Weston to André Kertész, this fusion of masterpieces and lesser-known images traces the history of modernity in photography. Mixing genres and approaches—architecture and urban landscapes, portraits and nudes, reportage, photomontage, experimentation, etc.—the exhibition delves deep into the artistic networks of the inter-war period, from the Bauhaus to Surrealist Paris, via Moscow and New York.
In their visually radical inventiveness, these images capture perfectly the utopian spirit of those who wanted to change images in order to change the world; now we fully understand the words of the photographer and theoretician Lázló Moholy-Nagy who, a century ago, stated that «the illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the camera and the pen alike.».

Capture d’écran 2021-08-24 à 14.47.04

The exhibition is organized by The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Curation: Sarah Meister, former Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and Quentin Bajac, Director, Jeu de Paume, with Jane Pierce, Carl Jacobs Foundation Research Assistant, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Manufacture Jaeger-LeCoultre and the Fondation d’entreprise Neuflize OBC has chosen to support the exhibition. With the complicity of Fondation Louis Roederer.

Media Partners: Fip, Le Monde, Télérama, France Télévisions. Thanks to l’Hôtel Castille, Paris.