Izis would be 100

Mis à jour le 30 avril 2012 par Michel PuechMichel Puech publie dans La lettre de la photographie, lettre quotidienne en français et en anglais.


The Willy Brandt House in Berlin extended the exhibition « Izis, Paris der Träume » to coincide with the Jewish photographer’s 100th birthday. For his 101st birthday, his work might be exhibited in Israel « Izraël Biderman » later to become Israëlis Bidermanas, and finally Izis, the name under which the photographer would sign a body of work that, on the dawn of the 21st century, is finally being recognized for its true value, was born on January 17, 1911, in Marijampole, in the Russian Empire of Lithuania.

Published in La lettre de la photographie 2011/01/19

Although exhibited in 1951 in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art ­ and despite the books today considered works of art ­ Izis work would for decades be shadowed by renowned French photographers Henri Cartier-Bresson and Magnum. It is useful to remember that Robert Doisneau, Willy Ronis and many others didn¹t come into the public eye until the 1980¹s.

Izis was of course well known by professionals in the field, and curious amateurs, but it would take until 2010 and the exhibition “Paris des Rêves” in the French capital¹s City Hall that 1000 people a day would discover, or perhaps rediscover, his work, especially his portraits of Marc Chagall, recognized by all those familiar with the magazine Paris Match.

The exhibition and remarkable catalog resulted from Manuel Bidermanas, the son determined to extol his father’s work, himself a photographer and former picture editor of the French news weekly Le Point. And with the minute and passionate work of Armelle Canitrot, a journalist and photo critic at the French daily La Croix, co-curator of the exhibition and the book¹s co-author. After Paris, the exhibition moved to Berlin in two locations (The Willy Brandt House and the French Institute) where it is also very successful commented Manuel Bidermans. I am currently negotiating with the Israeli and Lithuanian embassies so that my father’s pictures can be shown in Israel. You can imagine I won¹t let anyone else hang them. Other projects are in negotiations with Mexico, for sure, Italy, perhaps, and of course, Japan which might allow us to print a catalog in English and Japanese. Vintage sales? Personally, I won¹t hold a public sale. Two thirds of the vintage prints, once belonging to a family member, were auctioned off successfully, but the remaining prints belong to meS I am very attached. Aside from a few exceptional transactions, I don¹t sell anything. As for reproduction rights, the AKG agency takes care of that, doing a remarkable job, they are quite pleasant and very cooperative.

Michel Puech

Izis, Paris des rêves par Armelle Canitrot et Manuel Bidermanas. Edition Flammarion 2010 en français

Exhibition : In Berlin until January 23, 2011
Institut Français de Berlin
Maison de France
Kurfürstendamm 211
10719 Berlin

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