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LEMAGNY, Jean-Claude

Jean-Claude LEMAGNYBorn 1931 in Versailles, France.

Lives and works in Paris.


Jean-Claude Lemagny is the elder son of Paul Lemagny, who won the Grand Prix de Rome (in the engraving category) and was a member of the Institut de France.

A qualified history teacher and holder of an advanced degree in art history, Jean-Claude Lemagny joined the French national library, the Bibliothèque Nationale (BnF), in 1963. There he was first put in charge of eighteenth-century engravings, a subject he taught at the Ecole du Louvre. In 1968, he became director of the BnF’s photography department. He created a photography gallery there in 1971, and curated many exhibitions both of old photographs and of work by promising newcomers. Once each decade he also staged more extensive exhibitions of the BnF’s new acquisitions.

Jean-Claude Lemagny has written numerous texts and articles on aesthetics and the history of photography, and produced several exhibition catalogues, including La photographie créative (1984) and La Matière, l’Ombre et la fiction (1994). A collection of some of his articles was published under the title L’Ombre et le temps (1992). Jean-Claude Lemagny left the BnF in 1996, and was given the title of ‘honorary general curator’.


Jean-Claude Lemagny presented his work at the Rencontres d’Arles in 2009: What is to be seen is what you see at the Musée Départemental de l’Arles Antique.