“La Caixa” Foundation Brings Philippe Halsman to Barcelona

The most retrospective exhibition of Philippe Halsman made possible thanks to “la Caixa” Foundation

July 21st, 2016
Ingrida Haringová, CD News

The most retrospective exhibition of Philippe Halsman, one of the most famous photographers of all time, has come to Barcelona thanks to the dedicated work of “la Caixa” Foundation. Visitors can see more than 300 pieces of his work, including portraits of famous people from all around the world.

“Astonish me!”, the name of the exhibition summing up work of Philippe Halsman, quotes Sergei Diaghilev's reply to Jean Cocteau's question about what he needed to do in order to work him. The quote itself is very personal to Halsman as well, since he experimented with photography throughout his whole career.  He always insisted that there was a lot of unexplored creative potential in images.

Halsman is most famous for his portraits of celebrities, which became covers for Life magazine, and for his project “Jumpology”, where famous people were jumping in the air. Jumpology, as he claimed, was able to portrait people without masks because they were focused on the act of jumping. 

He was born in what would be current Latvia, studied in Dresden but emigrated to France and later on to the United States. On his journey, he switched from chemistry to fashion photography and later on to portrait photography.

“La Caixa” Foundation, in cooperation with the Musée de l´Elyseé of Lausanne, brings to Barcelona the most complete retrospective exhibition of his work ever. Among the 300 pieces in the exhibition many have never been shown before - contact sheets, preliminary proofs, original photomontages and much more will be displayed to public for the first time. This exhibition has been possible only thanks to the cooperation of the artist´s family with the Foundation.

The exhibition was opened by Elisa Durán, assistant general manager of the foundation, Irene Halsman, the artist´s daughter and the curators Sam Stourdzé and Anne Lacoste.

Astonish me!” is part of the “la Caixa” Foundation cultural program, which focuses particularly on the most contemporary artworks. The foundation seeks to illustrate the influence that images exercise on contemporary sensibilities and to highlight the role that the great 20th-century visual artists played in defining our vision of the world. The foundation has already organized several exhibitions devoted to many great names in photography.

“La Caixa” Foundation is one of the biggest foundation in the world in terms of budgetary volume. It works in areas such as poverty eradication and social action; moreover, it funds research in medicine, provides scholarships to support education around the globe, and significantly sponsors culture and its dissemination.


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