Eternity in an Instant

It doesn't interest me," Henri Cartier-Bresson says of photography. "It never has. The only thing that has ever been important is drawing." He is sitting at the living-room window of his fifth-floor Paris apartment, looking out over the Tuileries Gardens. It's almost exactly the same plunging view, he points out, that was painted by Monet and Cézanne. Cartier-Bresson abandoned photography in the mid-1970s and now prefers to discuss painting and drawing, his later passions. But even he can't deny the unforgettable images he captured during a half-century of photojournalism.

This week, a stunning retrospective of that work goes...

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