André Malraux à son bureau, Ministère de la Culture, Paris, France, 1968


Gelatin silver print

35.2 x 23.7 cm (13 7/8 x 9 5/16 in.)

This black and white photographic portrait of André Malraux, represented in his role as Minister of Culture, is quite different from conventional, official photography. The grandeur of his office at the Palais Royal in Paris is almost blurred in the background while the writer and politician stands out fully in this off-centered composition. His bust slightly turned, he stares at the photographer with a stern, intense look.

Malraux has been Minister of Culture for ten years when Henri Cartier-Bresson makes this portrait of him. Among the various shots taken on the fly, this one represents Malraux in the most serious manner, as an intimate reflection of his rich intellectual and political career. This commissioned work once again attests to Henri Cartier-Bresson's talent as a portraitist, always guided by his desire to capture “the inner silence of a consenting victim.”

André Malraux à son bureau, Ministère de la culture, Paris, France, 1968 (André Malraux at his desk, Ministry of Culture) is presented for the first time as part of the Pinault Collection in the monographic exhibition Henri Cartier-Bresson. Le Grand Jeu at Palazzo Grassi in Venice, in 2020.