Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau (April 14 1912 - April 1 1994) was a French photographer noted for his frank and often humorous depictions of Parisian street life.

Robert Doisneau, one of France's most popular and prolific reportage photographers, is known for his modest, playful, and ironic images of amusing juxtapositions, mingling social classes, and eccentrics in contemporary Paris streets and cafes. Influenced by the work of Kertész, Atget, and Cartier-Bresson, in over 20 books Doisneau has presented a charming vision of human frailty and life as a series of quiet, incongruous moments. He has written: "The marvels of daily life are exciting; no movie director can arrange the unexpected that you find in the street."

Among his most recognizable work is Le baiser de l'hôtel de ville (Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville), a photo of a couple kissing in the busy streets of Paris. Who the couple were was a mystery until in 1993 Denise and Jean-Louis Lavergne took him to court for taking the picture without their knowledge. This action forced Doisneau to prove that he actually posed the shot in 1950 using actor/models Françoise Bornet and her then boyfriend Jacques Carteaud. Françoise was given an original print as part of her payment. In April 2005 she sold the print for 155,000 at an auction. All in all Paris was one of the favorite photographic subjects of Doisneau.

Doisneau's work gives unusual prominence and dignity to children's street culture; returning again and again to the theme of children at play in the city, unfettered by parents. His work treats their play with seriousness and respect.

The Estate of Robert Doisneau is currently represented by Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, New York.


  • 1994 Dies April 1 in Paris.
  • 1991 Introduced to the French author Daniel Pennac.
  • 1986 Meets the French journalist François Canna.
  • 1985 Produces portraits of personalities for the magazine Femme.
  • 1983 Introduced to French actress and producer Sabine Azéma, who would later make the film Bonjour Monsieur Doisneau.
  • 1984 Responsible for the topic of “New Urban Landscapes” for the photographic mission of DATAR.
  • 1975 Guest at the Meetings of Arles.
  • 1967 Travels to work in the USSR to work for the magazine Working Life.
  • 1960 Visits the United States to work in Hollywood and Palm Springs.
  • 1949-51 Receives contract with Vogue magazine.
  • 1947 Introduced to Bordeaux shipper Robert Giraud as well as the French poet Jacques Prévert.
  • 1946 Raymond Grosset re-establishes the Ralpho Agency, which had closed during World War II. Doisneau would go on to work with the agency for nearly fifty years.Works with the weekly publication, Action. Travels to Yugoslavia.
  • 1945 Works for the first time with Pierre Betz, editor for the magazine Le Point. This publication, now more than fifty years old, is still in publication. Introduced to the Swiss poet and novelist Blaise Cendrars in Aix-en-Provence, France. Meets photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founding members of the photographic agency Magnum Photos.
  • 1944 Introduced to French actor Maurice Baquet.
  • 1942 Meets renowned French typographer Maximilien Vox.
  • 1939 Introduced to The founder of the Ralpho agency, Charles Rado. Begins working as a fully independent photographer.
  • 1934-38 Works as an industrial photographer at the Renault factories in Billancourt, France.
  • 1932 Images of a flea market are the first photographs sold to the daily publication, L’Excelsior.
  • 1931 Assistant to André Vigneau.
  • 1930 Draftsman at the Ulman Workshop.
  • 1926-29 Studies at Ecole Estienne in Paris and receives a diploma as an engraver-lithographer.
  • 1912 Born April 14th in Gentilly, France.


  • 1986 Balzac Prize
  • 1983 Grand Prix National de la Photographie
  • 1956 Niepce Prize
  • 1947 Kodak Prize


  • 2005 Solo Exhibition, Robert Doisneau from the Fictional to the Real, Bruce Silverstein, New York.
  • 2004 Exhibtion, Gallerie Claude Bernard, Paris.
  • 2003 Exhibition, Budapest, Hungary. Exhibition, Bucarest, Romania.
  • 2002 Exhibition, Santiago, Chile.
  • 2001 Exhibition, Gallerie Claude Bernard, Paris.
  • 2000 Exhibition, Gravites, Paris.
  • 1996 Solo exhibition, Montpellier Photo-Visions, Galerie Municipale de la Photographie; Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo; Daimaru Museum, Osaka, Japan.
  • 1995 Museum of Modern Art, Oxford, England; Aberdeen Art Gallery, Scotland; The Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry. 1993: The Summerlee Heritage Trust,Coatbridge, Scottland; Royal Festival Hall, London; Manchester City Art Gallery; O Mes da Fotografie Festival, Convento do Beato, Lisbon, Portugal. Musee Carnavalet, Paris.
  • 1994 Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Canada; Galway Arts Centre, Ireland. Solo exhibition, A Homage to Robert Doisneau,Galerie du Château d’Eau a Toulouse. Solo exhibition, Doisneau 40/44, Centre d’Histoire de la Resistance et de la Deportation de Lyons, Lyons, France.Solo exhibition, Robert Doisneau ou la desobeissance, Ecomusee de Fresnais.
  • 1992 Solo exhibition, Robert Doisneau: A Retrospective.
  • 1990 Solo exhibition, La Science de Doisneau, Jardin des Plantes, Paris.
  • 1989 Solo exhibition, Doisneau-Renault, Grande Halle de la Villette, Paris.
  • 1988 Solo exhibition, A Homage to Robert Doisneau, Villa Medicis, Rome.
  • 1987 Solo exhibition, St.-Denis, Musee de St.-Denis. Solo exhibition, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
  • 1986 Group exhibition, De Vogue a femme, Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie d’Arles.
  • 1982 Solo exhibition, Portraits, Foundation Nationale de la Photopraphie, Lyons. Solo exhibition, French Embassy , New York. Solo exhibition, Robert Doisneau, Photographe de banlieue, Town Hall, Gentilly. Solo exhibition of 120 photographs, Palace of Fine Arts, Bejing. Exhibition of portraits, Tokyo. Solo exhibition, Robert Doisneau, Photographie du dimanche, Institut Lumiere, Lyons.
  • 1981 Solo exhibition, Witkin Gallery, New York.
  • 1980 Solo exhibition, Amsterdam.
  • 1979 Solo exhibition, Paris, les passants qui passent, Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
  • 1978 Solo exhibition, Ne Bougeons plus, Galerie Agathe Gaillard, Paris. Solo exhibition, Witkin Gallery, New York. Solo exhibition, Musee Nicephore Niepce, Charlon-sur-Saône.
  • 1977 Solo exhibition, Brussels. Exhibition with Guy la Querrec, Carlos Freire, Claude Raimond-Dityvon, Bernard Descamps, and Jean Lattes, Six Photographes en quête de banlieue, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
  • 1976 Exhibition with Brassaї, Cartier-Bresson, Jean-Philippe Charbonnier, Izis, and Marc Riboud, Krakow.
  • 1975 Solo exhibition, Witkin Gallery, New York; Musew Reattu Arts Decoratifs, Nantes; Musee Reattu, Arles. Solo exhibition, Galerie et Fils, Brussels. Solo exhibition, fnac, Lyons. Group exhibiton, Expression de l’humor,Boulogne Billancourt. Solo exhibition, Galerie Neugebauer, Basel.
  • 1974 Solo exhibition, University of California at Davis. Solo exhibition, Galerie du Château d’Eau, Toulouse.
  • 1972 Solo exhibition, International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House, Rochester, New York. Exhibition with Edouard Boudat, Brassaї, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Izis, and Ronis, French Embassy, Moscow.
  • 1965 Exhibition with Daniel Frasnay, Jean Lattes, Jeanine Niepce, Roger Pic, and Willy Ronis, Six Photographes et Paris, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Exhibition with Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andre Vigneau, Musee Reattu, Arles. Solo exhibition, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. Exhibition with D. Brihat, J. P. Sudre, and L. Clergue, Musee Cantini de Marseilles.
  • 1960 Solo exhibition, Museum of Modern Art, Chicago.
  • 1951 Exhibition with Brassaї, Willy Ronis, and Izis, Museum of Modern Art, New York.
  • 1947 Salon de la Photo, Bibliotheque, Paris.


  • 1997 Mes Parisiens. Nathan Publications. Paris, France.
  • 1995 Robert Doisneau ou la Vie d’un photographie. Text: Hamilton, Peter. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1994 Doisneau 40/44. Text: Ory, Pascal. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1994 La Vie de Famille. Text: Ory, Pascal. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1993 Les Enfants de Germinal. Text: Cavanna. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1992 Mes gens de Plume. Writings by Doisneau collected by Dubois, Y. Editions La Martiniere. France.
  • 1992 Les Grandes Vacances. Text: Pennac, Daniel. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1991 Rue Jacques Prevert. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France. La Compagnie des Zincs. Text: Carradec, François Carradec. Seghers. Paris, France.
  • 1990 La Science do Doisneau. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France. Les Auvergnats. (with Dubois, Jaques)Nathan Images. Paris, France. Lettres a un Aveugle sur des Photographies de Robert Doisneau. Text: Roumette, Sylvain. Le tout sur le Tout/Le Temps qu’il fair. Paris, France.
  • 1989 A l’imparfait de l’objectif. Belfond Editions. Paris, France. Les Doigts Pleins d’encre. Text: Cavanna. Hoëbeke Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1988 60 portraits d/artists. Text: Petit, Jean. Hans Grieshaber Publications. Zürich, Switzerland. Doisneau. Quotations by Doisneau Collected by Maisonneuve, Andre. Editions * Hazan. Paris, France. Bonjour Monsieur Le Corbusier. Text: Petit, Jean. Hans Grieshaber Publications. Zürich, Switzerland.
  • 1987 Pour saluer Cendrars. Text: Camilly, J. Actes Sud. Arles, France.
  • 1986 Un Certain Robert Doisneau. Editions of the Oak. Paris, France.
  • 1985 Paysages, Photographies. (mission photography for DATAR) Editions Hazan. Paris, France.
  • 1983 Doisneau. Photopoche, Centre National de la Photographie. France.
  • 1982 Passages et Galeries du 19eme Siecle. Text: Delvaille, Bernard. Editions Baslland. Paris, France.
  • 1981 Robert Doisneau. Text: Chevrier, Jean-François. Belfond Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1980 Ballade pour Violoncelle et Chambre Noir. Co-author: Baquet, Maurice. Herscher Editions. Paris, France.
  • 1979 Le Mal de Paris. Text: Lepidis, Clement. Arthaud Publications. Paris, France. Trios Seconds d’eternite. Contrejour. Paris, France.
  • 1978 L’Enfant a la Colombe. Text: Sage, James. Editions of the Oak. Paris, France. La Loire. Denoël. Paris, France.
  • 1974 Le Paris de Robert Doisneau et Max-Pol Fouchet. Les editeurs français reunis. France.
  • 1972 My Paris. Text: Chevalier, Maurice. Macmillan Publishers. New York, New York.
  • 1966 Catherine la Danseuse. Text: Manceaux, Michel. Editions Fernand Nathan. Paris, France.
  • 1965 Epouvantables Épouvantails. Editions Hors Mesure. Paris, France. Le Royaume d’Argot. Text: Giraud, Robert. Donoël. Paris, France.
  • 1964 Marius le Forestier. Text: Halevy, Dominique. Editions Fernand Nathan. Paris, France.
  • 1962 Nicolas Schöffer. Text: Habasque, Guy and Menetrier, Jaques. Editions du Griffon. Neuchâtel, France.
  • 1956 Instantanes de Paris. Preface: Cendrars, Blaise. Arthaud Publications. Paris, France. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, Computer en S’amusant. La Guilde du Livre. France. Pour que Paris soit. Text: Triolet, Elsa. Cercle d’Art editions. France. Gosses de Paris. Text: Dongues, Jean. Editions Jehebert. France.
  • 1955 Le Vin des Rues. Text: Giraud, Robert. Donoël. Paris, Francee.
  • 1954 Les Parisians tells qu’ils Sont. Text: Girgaud, Robert and Ragon, Michel. Delpire Publications. Paris, France.
  • 1952 Sortiles de Paris. Text: Cali, François. Arthaud Publications. France.
  • 1949 La Banlieue de Paris. Text: Cendrars, Blaise. Éditions Pierre Seghers. Paris, France.

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