Monday, September 14, 2009

Willy Ronis Dies

The celebrated French photographer Willy Ronis died over the weekend at the age of 99. Ronis made romantic, humanist images of postwar France, in a tradition and style similar to Doisneau, Brassai and Kertesz.

While Ronis made many memorable images of Paris city life, perhaps his most famous picture is Le Nu Provençal, Gordes from 1949 (at right, via Afterimage Gallery (here)). As collectors of female nudes, we have considered this image for years; given its tremendous overexposure, the work now verges on being a cliché. And yet, there's an obvious reason why so many people love it; the simple form, the delicate composition, and the beautiful light streaming in from the open window come together to make a quietly elegant scene.

While most images by Ronis are somewhat affordable at auction (under $3000), Le Nu Provençal, Gordes, will likely set you back double that, perhaps more at retail, depending on the size of the print. And while I'm not clear on who might officially represent him/his estate at this point, it appears that in addition to Afterimage, both Monroe Gallery (here) and Jackson Fine Art (here) carry a decent selection of Ronis inventory.

Obituaries: AP/NY Times (here), Reuters (here)

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