Patrick Faigenbaum studied painting and drawing from 1968 to 1973. He turned to photography in 1973, when he did not take photography courses or attend an art school specializing in this field.
A photographer of timelessness, Patrick Faigenbaum is first and foremost a portraitist, reflecting an important transition in the history of art: portraits, long reserved for painters, have become a specialty of photographers. As with another photographer, Jeff Wall, Patrick Faigenbaum’s compositions remain at the heart of a pictorial tradition.
In 1984, while staying in Venice, Patrick Faigenbaum realized that the palaces built during the Renaissance by the best architects of the time for the great families of the Italian nobility were still occupied by their descendants. He then decides to devote a series of photographs to the survivals of the past in these palaces and embarks on a collaboration with a number of illustrious families in Florence, Rome and Naples. Coming from a Russian-Polish Jewish family whose history had been shattered by the mortal blows of history, Faigenbaum thus enters the very closed enclosure of an aristocracy whose history has not suffered any break in the last five centuries.
The portrait painter of the 1980s was transformed in the 1990s into a chronicler of the urban. Invited in residence in Bremen (1996-1998), he projects himself in “portraits of cities”, as if seized by a topicality that he had hitherto rather avoided.
From October 4, 2013 to January 19, 2014, the first major exhibition in Italy devoted to Patrick Faigenbaum is organized by the Académie de France in Rome in collaboration with the Vancouver Art Gallery, which hosted the first stage in March 2013. Conceived by art critic Jean-François Chevrier and artist Jeff Wall, it presents more than seventy works and forty years of the career of the artist, one of the major figures of the contemporary photographic scene.