Artcurial's auction expert Gregory Leroy let me know that French photographer Janine Niépce had passed away on August 5, 2007.
Leroy told me, "Nearly everybody was out of Paris at the time. I was in some Amazonian jungle and got the news ten days later, and because of the timing, there was not so much fuss about it. A pity. I saw her just a couple of weeks before she died. She looked great, and surprisingly fit. She got me drunk (not such an achievement, I know) with the beautiful white wine her family produced in Burgundy…We certainly miss her. You can say she was a real humanist. Not a feminist, as she liked to claim, but an artist with a genuine empathy for people of all ages or origin."
Janine Niépce was born on February 12, 1921 in Meudon, outside Paris, to a family involved in the Burgundy wine trade. Her family is linked to the inventor of photography, Nicephore Niépce. She studied art and archaeology at the Sorbonne.
In 1955 she took Henri Cartier-Bresson's advice and joined the photo agency Rapho. She was given the Chevalier for Arts and Letters in 1981 and the French Legion of Honor in 1985. Over 20 books were published on her photographic work.
Niepce's work often focused on the history and struggles of women worldwide. Until she died, she was considered one of France's top living female photographers.