Photo Elysée and visual artist Nathalie Boutté pay tribute to Sabine Weiss –

Photo Elysée and visual artist Nathalie Boutté pay tribute to Sabine Weiss –
Photo Elysée and visual artist Nathalie Boutté pay tribute to Sabine Weiss –

On the occasion of the centenary of the birth of Sabine Weiss (1924-2021), Photo Elysée in Lausanne (VD) pays tribute until January 2025 to the Franco-Swiss photographer. Visual artist Nathalie Boutté dialogues with the images of the artist who sent her archives to the museum in 2017.

Born on July 23, 1924 in Saint-Gingolph (VS) on the shores of Lake Geneva, Sabine Weiss, a major figure of the so-called “humanist” movement, had donated 200,000 negatives, 7,000 contact sheets, approximately 2,000 slides, photographs and many other documents. The voluminous collection joined Photo Elysée on the Plateforme 10 site in Lausanne at the beginning of the year.

Around a hundred works drawn from this collection and dialoguing with the paper collages of the French visual artist Nathalie Boutté are exhibited until January 12, 2025, some iconic, others more unknown, including some treasures unearthed by surprise.

They give a very representative overview of the versatility of Sabine Weiss, a true “jack of all trades”: street photographer, studio photographer, fashion photographer, advertising photographer, portraitist and also photojournalist for many international magazines. It is an admirable and very active career, sixty years long and which explores all aspects of the photographer’s profession.

>> First report by Sabine Weiss, published in 1945:
First report by Sabine Weiss, published in 1945. [© Sabine Weiss, collections Photo Elysée.]

From the street to the studio

Died on December 28, 2021 at the age of 97, Sabine Weiss is one of the big names in European photography. She is one of the last representatives of “humanist” photography, a movement born in France after the Second World War and to which artists such as Robert Doisneau or Brassaï are linked. She moved to Paris in 1946 and was naturalized French in 1995.

With the exhibition that pays her a beautiful tribute, the public will discover the eclectic career of this outstanding technician who acquired her first camera at the age of 12 with her pocket money. She then learned the trade in the Geneva studio Boissonnas.

Upon her arrival in the French capital, she worked for fashion photographer Willy Maywald, then opened her own studio. She also remained linked to the Rapho agency for a long time.

For the exhibition, instant photos, street and everyday scenes immortalizing people’s simple lives, sit alongside highly organized and studio-staged photos for portraits, advertising and even fashion (for Vogue in particular). Tenderness, delicacy, elegance, playfulness, creativity and also great rigor jump out at the same time to the visitor.

>> Sabine Weiss photographed in her Parisian studio, December 15, 2020:
Sabine Weiss photographed in her Parisian studio, December 15, 2020. [AFP – JOEL SAGET]

Dialogue with the visual artist Nathalie Boutté

Photo Elysée invited visual artist Nathalie Boutté to engage in dialogue with Sabine Weiss’ work. She even participated in the construction of the tribute exhibition. Her paper works, inspired by images taken by the photographer, accompany the works throughout the exhibition.

A very meticulous and tedious process: Nathalie Boutté cuts out hundreds, even more than a thousand, thin strips of paper – including used and recycled banknotes from the Banque de France – on which a quote from Sabine Weiss appears, before assembling them to recompose the original photograph. The shades of gray in the paper strips create gradients, similar to digital pixels.


“Sabine Weiss x Nathalie Boutté”, Photo Elysée, Lausanne, from June 22, 2024 to January 12, 2025.



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