Parc des Expositions, Pavillon de l'atome, Moscou, URSS, 1972


Gelatin silver print

35.5 x 23.9 cm (14 x 9 7/16 in.)

Taken from the point of view of a painting, this group portrait shows four visitors in an exhibition venue. The lighting of their expression and gestures contributes to dramatizing the scene. They show a range of expressions, from complacency to interest, doubt, or concern.

Henri Cartier-Bresson takes this picture as a photoreporter for Magnum photo agency during his second trip to the USSR, at a time when international relations have eased in the context of the Cold War. It is part of a rich body of works published when he returns, in 1973, under the title À propos de l’URSS (“about the USSR”). This series was a rare testimony at the time of the normality of Soviet citizens' life, whether at work or in their free time, as shown in this visit to the Moscow fair ground.

Parc des expositions, Pavillon de l’atome, Moscou, URSS, 1972 (“fair ground, atom pavilion, Moscow”) 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.