Lartigue at the beach

Lartigue’s photographs are permeated with the nonchalance and poetry of seaside towns on the French Riviera, in Normandy and on the Basque coastline, where he found the ideal theatre for capturing fleeting moments and for exploring the brevity of happiness and the fragility of existence.

Nouveau sport, Cannes, avril 1929, recadrage, tirage d’après un négatif sur verre 6x13cm

These images by Lartigue are included in the exhibition “Tous à la plage! Villes balnéaires du 18e siècle à nos jours,” presented at the Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine (at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris) until February 13th, 2017; in paintings, engravings, photographs, posters, models and postcards, this exhibition traces 150 years of development of the French coastline and reflects on the singularity of the architecture and urbanism of the seaside. The exhibit also evokes the evolution of society and its relationship to the littoral which, first perceived as dangerous, became in the nineteenth century a privileged site for summer and winter resorts and then, in the twentieth century, the preferred destination of mass tourism.

Deauville, août 1938, tirage d’après un négatif souple 6x6cm


To accompany the exhibition, its curator, Bernard Toulier, also wrote “Jacques Henri Lartigue, Un dandy à la plage” (Paris: La Découverte, 2016), juxtaposing sequences of Lartigue’s images with scenes from French beaches, while reflecting on several themes, including repose, fashion or pleasure.


Moi à l’île de Saint-Honorat, Cannes, février 1923, tirage d’après un négatif sur verre stéréoscopique 6x13cm


Links to the exhibition:

Links to the exhibition catalogue:

Links to the book “Un dandy à la plage”: