François Tuefferd

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François Tuefferd (30 May 1912 – 17 December 1996) was a French photographer, active from the 1930s to the 1950s. He also ran a darkroom and gallery in Paris, Le Chasseur d'Images, where he printed and exhibited the works of his contemporaries. His best-known imagery features the French circus.


Born into a well-to-do family on 30 May 1912 in Montbéliard (Doubs), Tuefferd was encouraged in his early interest in photography by his father, Jean-Pierre Tuefferd, doctor and capable amateur photographer and, from 1959 to 1965, mayor of Montbéliard.[1]

Tuefferd studied at the Lycee Louis-le-Grand in Paris in 1920. He made his first photographs in 1925 with a vest-pocket Kodak and on his first trip to Tunisia in 1929. Resident there in 1931 he joined the 4th Zouaves Regiment, and equipped with a Leica and a Spido press camera by L. Gaumont & Cie, he made portraits of soldiers and landscapes of the desert as well as documenting the Tunisian population, hitherto ignored by photographers.


Tuefferd began exhibiting in the salons in the 1930s, including the influential XXXI Salon International D'Art Photographique (Societe Francaise de Photographie) in 1936, which was judged by Laure Albin-Guillot.[2]

On leave, he met George Hoyningen-Huene who lent him his Rolleiflex to take pictures of the shooting of a parody of L'Atlantide by GW Pabst. Impressed by the quality of the photos, Hoyningen-Huene offered him an internship at Vogue studios in Paris in the autumn (Condé Nast SA),[3] where he worked in the studio, darkroom and retouching workshop on advertising and product shots. In March 1932, he left the Vogue studio and entered that of Gaston Grenier. There he set up a specialized facilities for 35 mm processing and very quickly photographers such as Rogi André, Ilse Bing, Robert Capa, Ergy Landau and Man Ray became his clients. He photographed the liner SS Normandie in 1936.

First Paris gallery dedicated to photography[edit]

In June 1937, with an inheritance, Tuefferd opened the Le Chasseur d'Images gallery at 46 rue du Bac,[4] the first Paris gallery dedicated to photography[5] in which he showed both known and unknown photographers.[6] Emmanuel Sougez was first to exhibit there in June 1937. German photographer Herbert List pinned his prints directly to the wall as it was customary in the photo galleries of the time. Others followed in solo or group exhibitions: Pierre Adam, Marcel Arthaud, Ilse Bing,[7] Serge Boiron, Bill Brandt, Max Del, Louis Caillaud, Yvonne Chevalier, André Garban, Sandro Guida, Pierre Jahan, Henri Lacheroy, René-Leon Servant.

Le Chasseur d'Images also presented the original illustrations of Arts et Métiers Graphiques "Photographie" albums from 1938 to 1939. He organized the first Rectangle exhibition, of works by the group of 13 exclusively French photographers whose founder was Sougez,[8] and presented the Modernist photography club, Le Noir et Blanc, successor to the Rolleiclub. The gallery could present up to 150 30 × 40 cm prints and photographs were sold for 100 Francs. Shows rarely exceeded two weeks in duration and on opening nights, the gallery provided an invaluable rendezvous for photographers. Mobilization for war in September 1939 brought an end to the enterprise.

Exhibitions at Chasseur d'Images[edit]


  • 16 June – 5 July: Emmanuel Sougez
  • 9 July – 30 July: Herbert List
  • 5 October – 20 October: Max Del
  • 17–30 November: Sandro Guida
  • 2–10 November: Arts et métiers graphiques; original prints from the volume Photographie 1938
  • 3–24 December: Alain-M.Duchemin: 100 photos d'ici et d'ailleurs


  • 25 January – 10 February: Le rectangle: first salon Pierre Adam, Marcel Arthaud, Serge Boiron, Louis Caillaud, Yvonne Chevalier, André Garban, Pierre Jahan, Henri Lacheroy, Gaston Paris, Philippe Pottier, Emmanuel Sougez, Jean Roubier, René Servant
  • 27 April –14 May: Paul Kowaliski
  • May: François Tuefferd
  • 15–25 June: E. Haack: Un journaliste se promène 130 photos
  • 27 June – 14 July: Bill Brandt: London by Night
  • 4–15 November: Arts et Métiers Graphiques; Photographies 1939. Original prints from the volume published by Arts et Métiers Graphiques


  • 27 March -15 April Ilse Bing: Impressions de New-York
  • 28 April - 15 May Yvonne Chevalier, Pierre Jahan, Philippe Pottier, members of the group Rectangle
  • May: François Tuefferd: Photos of Tunisia
  • 27 May -12 June Le Noir et Blanc Exposition annuelle du Club moderne de Photographie, conference on "photography in colour" led by Paul Kowaliski, who had shown in Photography 1839–1937 March 17–April 18, 1937 at MoMA, New York, and who in 1951 would write, with Jean Dourgnon, the seminal La reproduction des couleurs.[9]

In October 1940, he returned to Paris and devoted himself to documenting, in a humanist mode,[10] the world of the circus that visited Paris every year and in which he found a unique subject, a world of its own redolent of Old Paris, and for years photographed trapeze artists seen from below, spotlit against a dark background and gasping spectators craning their necks, as well as behind-the-scenes vignettes of circus performers applying makeup, practicing, eating and training animals.[11]

He was stills photographer for Pathé-Cinéma’s Port d'attache and Le Secret de Madame Clapain. For the publisher Prisma, he wrote the practical component of a photography correspondence course and articles for L'Agenda Prisma.

Postwar in France and Tunisia[edit]

In 1945, after making documentaries for the tourist commission, Tuefferd went back to Tunisia to shoot documentary films on Ramadan, on the island of Djerba, in Kairouan, and a falcon hunt. Banned in Paris from continuing his professional practice during the Régime de Vichy, he went to New York City to reunite with his artist friends, among them Alexander Calder whom he had met in Tunisia.

In 1946, he helped co-found the influential Le Groupe des XV with René Servant, Marcel Bovis, Lucien Lorelle, Jean Séeberger, and Emmanuel Sougez.

In 1949, he returned to France and resumed his work on the circus. He contributed photography to the journals L'Architecture d'aujourd'hui,[12] Le Courrier des métiers d'art,[13] Métiers de France.[14]

Life in America[edit]

In the early 1950s Tuefferd lived for a time in Hudson, NH and photographed in the USA, and in 1955 was included by Edward Steichen in the seminal world-touring The Family of Man that commenced at the Museum of Modern Art.

In the midst of a snowstorm on Mt Cardigan, NH, in 1968 met his wife-to-be Helen (née McDougall, 17 February 1932 – 30 April 2016) who was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club, participating in White Mountain hikes.[15][1] Though for a time he relinquished photography to work in electronics in the United States he resumed again in 1992.[16]

He died on December 17, 1996 and was survived by his wife Helen, and his two sons, Max and Nanook.

The Musée National des Arts et Traditions posthumously showed his circus imagery in an exhibit in 1999 entitled François Tuefferd: "Le cirque", photographs 1933-1954. A catalogue of his circus work was published by la Réunion des Musées Nationaux.




  • 1945-1968 La photographie humaniste. Bibliothèque Nationale de France with the direction of Laure Beaumont-Maillet, Françoise Denoyelle and Dominique Versavel.
  • François Tuefferd: Le Cirque ….' RMN, 1999. ISBN 2-7118-3661-4.
  • Une histoire de la photographie. M.+M.Auer.
  • La Nouvelle Photographie en France 1919-1939. By Christian Bouqueret in collaboration with Tuefferd.
  • François Tuefferd, Chasseur d'Images. By Thomas Michael Gunther. Paris Bibliothèques, 1993.
  • Le Cirque de François Tuefferd Photographies de 1933 à 1954. Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires, Réunion des Musées Bationaux, 1998. ISBN 978-2-7118-3661-1.
  • La Merveilleuse Histoire du Cirque. By Henry Thétard. Prisma, 1947.


  1. ^ Blondet-Bisch, Thérèse; Gunther, Thomas Michael; Bibliothèque de documentation internationale contemporaine (France); Mois de la photo (festival) (2008 : Paris, France) (2008), Une traversée photographique du XXe siècle = a photographic survey of the 20th century, Créaphis, p. 143, ISBN 978-2-35428-021-5
  2. ^ Revue française de photographie et de cinématographie. Tome XVI 1935
  3. ^ Dominique Baqué Les Documents de la modernité: anthologie de textes sur la photographie de 1919 à 1939, J. Chambon, 1993. 534
  4. ^ Leenaerts, Danielle (2010), Petite histoire du magazine Vu (1928-1940) : entre photographie d'information et photographie d'art, PIE Peter Lang, p. 100, ISBN 978-90-5201-585-9
  5. ^ Bouqueret, Christian; Chauvanne, Blandine; Musée Sainte-Croix; Musée Réattu; Musée de Carcassonne (1986), La nouvelle photographie en France 1919-1939 : Poitiers, Musée Sante-Croix, 7 octobre - 1er décembre 1986 Arles, Musée Réattu, 19 décembre 1986 - 8 mars 1987, Carcassonne, Museée des Beaux-Arts, 25 mars - 30 mai 1987, Musée de la Ville de Poitiers et de la Société des Antiquaires de l'Ouest, p. 1935
  6. ^ Thomas Michael Gunther, Tuefferd, Chasseur d'images, Paris, Bibliothèque Historique de Paris, 1993, p. 98,
  7. ^ Dryansky, Larisa; Houk, Edwynn (2006), Ilse Bing : photography through the looking glass, H.N. Abrams, p. 25, ISBN 978-0-8109-5546-2
  8. ^ Sougez, Emmanuel; Sougez, Marie Loup; Rochard, Sophie; Palais de Tokyo (Museum : Paris, France) (1993), Emmanuel Sougez : l'éminence grise, Créaphis, p. 18, ISBN 978-2-907150-36-1
  9. ^ Jean Dourgnon, Paul Kowaliski (1951). La reproduction des couleurs ([1. éd.]). Presses universitaires de France, Paris
  10. ^ Thézy, Marie de; Nori, Claude (1992), La photographie humaniste : 1930-1960, histoire d'un mouvement en France, Contrejour, p. 234, ISBN 978-2-85949-145-1
  11. ^ François Tuefferd (1999) Le Cirque, éditions RMN, 1999 ISBN 2-7118-3661-
  12. ^ L'Architecture d'aujourd'hui : revue mensuelle, L'Architecture d'aujourd'hui, 1930, ISSN 0003-8695
  13. ^ Beaux-arts : revue d'information artistique, [Gazette des Beaux-Arts], 1923, ISSN 1144-1283
  14. ^ Société d'encouragement aux métiers d'art (France) (1900), Le Courrier des métiers d'art, Société d'encouragement aux métiers d'art, retrieved 14 June 2018
  15. ^ Obituaries. The Boston Globe, May 8, 2016
  16. ^ Catalogue 1993 Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris. ISBN 2-90-6869-43-0