Pierre de Fenoÿl

Born in: 1945

France

Biography

Pierre Fenoyl was born on July 14, 1945 in the Rhone region in France. From a young age, passionate about photography, he worked as an archivist-photographer for news agencies Dalmas and Holmès-Lebel, then as a photo editor for the Rencontre publishing house. At the age of 20, he became Henri Cartier-Bresson's archivist. From 1966 to 1968, he was in charge of Magnum agency's archives.

He founded the following year, with Charles-Henri Favrod, the first photography gallery in Paris, Rencontre, and was the curator of several exhibitions (Brassai, Tony Ray-Jones , Martine Franck, Gianni Berengo Gradin, Guy Le Querrec, Tom Drahos, Richard Kalvar, Jean-Noel Reichel,
L'Inde by Edouard Boubat, Rene Burri, Magnum, Alain Perceval etc.). He plays an important role in the efforts for the recognition of Jacques-Henri Lartigue's work and in the creation of the Vu agency, before becoming corresponding new Yorkers of Photo-Magazine, and works as an art buyer for Publicis.

At the age of thirty, he is the first director of the National Foundation of Photography, created in Paris, and then, in 1978, he becomes the director of the photography section at the Georges-Pompidou Center, where he devoted himself especially to the promotion of photography as an independent means of expression. He organized numerous exhibitions and published severalanthologies: in 1979, the first photographic album of the Pompidou Center, for a collection which unfortunately did not survive; in 1982, Chefs-d’oeuvre des photographes anonymes au XIXe siècle - Masterpieces by anonymous photographers in the 19th century.

In 1984, winner of the Villa Medici grant, he travels to Egypt and his photos are presented at the Georges Pompidou Center. He withdraws, with his wife and two children, to Castelnau-de-Montmiral, in the Tarn department in France, where he produces, for the DATAR photographic mission, an exploration of the landscape in the Southwest of France. His photographs capture the subtle dialogues between the folds of the land, the houses, the plants, and create a mysterious harmony between the ground and the sky, in beautiful horizontal compositions.

The same charm can be found in his Egyptian pictures that captured history's most legendary monuments.
Beyond the brutal circumstances of his disappearance, Pierre Fenoyl is, among contemporary photographers, one of the most talented representatives of what is called in the US "Straight photography".

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