Rather than the standard thousand words, a picture, according to a recent social media meme, is now worth a mere two hundred—such is the state of the global economy. In reality, financial turmoil furnishes fine canvas for a master picture-maker. Henri Cartier-Bresson’s ten months in China between December 1948 and September 1949 demonstrated this. The images captured during his improvised assignments for Life magazine helped to cement his reputation as the world’s greatest photographer.

Featuring an introduction by Jean-Paul Sartre, a selection of these images was published by Cartier-Bresson’s friend Robert Delpire in 1954, under the title D’une Chine à l’autre (From One China to Another). With the release of the collection Henri Cartier-Bresson: China 1948–1949/1958 in late 2019, followed by an exhibition of the same name at Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) that ran from June 20 to...

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