Exhibition: Love, Life, Lartigue

A new exhibition at Amsterdam's Gallerie Vassie displays French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue's pictures of pleasure

A new exhibition at Amsterdam's Gallerie Vassie will display works by Jacques Henri Lartigue, one of the great photographers of 20th-century leisure.

Born into a wealthy family in Paris’s western suburbs, Lartigue took his first photograph at the age of six, capturing childhood games and outings. Soon he was snapping tennis players, motor races and early attempts at aviation, along with the society beauties of the Parisian scene – among them his three wives and mistress.

Friends with Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau and a presence on the film sets of Abel Gance, Robert Bresson, Francois Truffaut and Federico Fellini, his 117,777 photos provide a comprehensive survey of modern Europe’s lighter side.

Lartigue was far more than a frothy bon vivant, though: he believed himself a painter first and foremost, exhibiting his photography rarely and sparsely. He was obsessed with colour and although 60 per cent of his work is in black and white, his mastery of shades reverberates through his oeuvre. By showing both black-and-white and colour shots, Love, Life, Lartigue should display this talent to full effect.