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On verso, stamped 'Reproduction Interdite, Sans la Mention, Blanc et Demilly, 31 Rue Grenette -Lyon'and '169' written pencil.
With a career spanning four decades, the artistic partnership between Theo Blanc and Antoine Demilly was on the forefront of French photography from 1927-1964. In the early 1920s, they were two of the first French photographers to adopt the Leica and Rolleiflex which allowed them freedom to experiment and push the boundaries of the medium. They sought to create a place for photography among the arts. Rather revolutionary for the age, they opened their own gallery dedicated exclusively photography as a fine art. The pair exhibited amongst their contemporaries Brassai, Doisneau and Man Ray. Until recently, although influential amid their peers and historians, their captivating photographs were largely unknown to the public. The majority of their work, mostly exhibition prints, was preserved in a single family collection. When the collection was made public in 2000, the Pompious Centre staged a retrospective covering their 40 year career entitled Blanc et Demilly: Photographes à Lyon, 1924-1962. Under a single artistic vision, the two artists delved into a variety of subjects ranging from surrealist explorations of the everyday to vibrant and dynamic street photography of the city, Lyon.
Anneaux represents a transitional moment for the two photographer, who experimented with various photographic philosophies. The elongated and distorted shadows recalls surrealist objects reminiscent of Man Ray's photographs. Yet, the photograph hints at their growing interest with the formalist elements of photograph with the interplay of lightand shadow, which was later appreciated by American modernists.