Ralph Gibson is an American master photographer best known for literally inventing a new language of photography in the 1970s. Ralph Gibson builds a narrative meaning through contextualization and surreal juxtaposition. He studied photography while in the US Navy and then at the San Francisco Art Institute. He began his professional career as an assistant to Dorothea Lange and went on to work with Robert Frank on two films. Gibson has maintained a lifelong fascination with books and book-making. Since the appearance in 1970 of THE SOMNAMBULIST, his work has been steadily impelled towards the printed page. To date he has produced over 40 monographs. His photographs are included in over one hundred and fifty museum collections around the world, and have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions. Gibson has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts (1973, 1975, 1986), a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (D.A.A.D.) Exchange, Berlin (1977), a New York State Council of the Arts (C.A.P.S.) fellowship (1977), and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1985). The Rencontres d'Arles festival presented his work in 1975, 1976, 1977, 1979, 1989 and 1994. His book "Syntax" received a mention for the Rencontres d'Arles Book Award in 1983. He was decorated as an Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1986) and appointed, Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2005) by the French government. His awards include: Leica Medal of Excellence Award (1988), "150 Years of Photography" Award, Photographic Society of Japan (1989), a Grande Medaille de la Ville d'Arles (1994) and the Lucie Award for lifetime achievement (2008). Gibson also received an honorary doctorate of Fine Arts from the University of Maryland (1991), and a second honorary doctorate from the Ohio Wesleyan University (1998). He has worked exclusively with the Leica for almost 50 years. Gibson currently lives in New York and travels frequently to Europe and Brazil.


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We hold most of Ralph Gibson's iconic photographs from 1963 to today: vintage prints, old prints, artist's prints, contemporary prints, black & white and color photographs.

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Ralph gibson • VU, IMPRÉVU

17 MARCH 2017 - 12 MAY 2018

A world's first. For the first time ever in his sixty-year career, Ralph Gibson revisits fifteen of his most iconic photographs... in music !  

 Ralph Gibson, "Vu Imprévu"

Following its 2016 exhibition where it showed the recent, digital, large format color works of Ralph Gibson, Galerie Thierry Bigaignon will once more indulge its ever-growing collector base as it chose to unveil another side of its legendary artist: his lesser-known talent for music and his guitar prowess. Celebrated as a Master photographer since he invented a new photography language in the 1970s, Ralph Gibson’s double virtuosity will be honored for the first time in his career.

The exhibition will give an unprecedented opportunity to revisit 15 of Gibson’s most iconic photographs in a totally unique way. These images, carefully selected by the artist and the gallerist, were shot between 1968 and 1990. Each photograph will come as a fine silver gelatin print and will be accompanied by a musical piece which was specifically composed, played and recorded by the artist for this exhibit.

The ears don’t have eye-lids!

Thierry Bigaignon who was lucky enough to spend much time alongside Ralph Gibson in his New York studio soon understood that music was holding a huge part in Gibson’s life and has being doing so for the last 70 years or so! Ralph Gibson comments: "Music is a universal language. All art strives to be music. Closing your eyes will turn any photograph in an abstract souvenir. Music is different. It cannot be ignored. The ears don’t have eye- lids! ». And Thierry Bigaignon adds: "Henri Cartier-Bresson once said to photograph is to put on the same line of sight the head, the eye and the heart. By combining music to photography, Ralph carries on that line towards the soul."

Rare and innovative collection pieces!

A very special care was given to the object itself which will be exhibited from March 17th. Each of these pristine black & white silver gelatin prints will come in an edition of 3. Provided in a special format, they will all show at their verso a hand-written and signed musical score by the artist. And the gallery will use for the first-time an in-house innovative frame that will integrate an NFC chip allowing the collector to stream the music of each photograph on a smartphone while viewing it. For Thierry Bigaignon: "To musically illustrate these magnificent photographs offers us yet another opportunity to present rare collection pieces and to showcase innovations which we think will make history. It is our gift to collectors, and photography enthusiasts alike, who have followed and admired for decades the immense body of work of this legendary artist." 


18 OCTOBER 2017 - 8 JANUARY 2018

 Ralph Gibson's Trilogy

Under the artistic direction of Gilles Mora, The Pavillon Populaire of Montpellier presents Ralph Gibson's famous Trilogy (1970-1974).

For the first time ever, the 150 photographs composing this trilogy will be shown. This exhibition is already considered an absolute "must-see" this last quarter of 2017.  

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10 JUNE - 27 AUGUST 2016

On the occasion of the opening of the Galerie Thierry Bigaignon, Ralph Gibson presents an all-new series of photographs entitled "Vertical Horizon", in a compelling departure from the black-and-white images for which he is celebrated.

 Ralph Gibson, "Vertical Horizon"

Seventeen years after the retrospective dedicated to his work at Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, and five years after his last exhibition in the city, Ralph Gibson returns to the French capital with a selection of 12 never-before-seen colour prints. Primarily known for his high-contrast monochrome photographs, the famous American photographer has been exploring colour since the advent of digital photography.

At 77, Ralph Gibson is still vividly exploring the particularities that built his identity as a photographer – and this new technology provides an intuitive extension of his approach focussing on the balance between representation and abstraction. More than ever, Ralph Gibson immaculately defines the structure of his images and plays on oppositions. The delicate boundary between lines and volumes gives rise to a tension at the very centre of the frame, enhanced by the portrait format of his photographs. As Thierry Bigaignon explains, "Ralph Gibson's images highlight the idea of boundaries and opposition. They’re visual oxymorons, so we decided to title the exhibition Vertical Horizon, which perfectly encapsulates these concepts".

Gilles Mora, the eminent art historian and critic specialising in American photography, had the privilege of previewing Ralph Gibson's series and has nothing but praise for this artist and his unique take on the world around him: "Ralph Gibson is without doubt the most European of American photographers, and knows our culture perfectly. His mastery of composition, halfway between graphic artwork and abstraction, has never precluded the sensuality which is the particular trademark of his photographs. It is time to rediscover Ralph Gibson."

The date of this inaugural exhibition is highly symbolic, as it takes place exactly 41 years to the day since French art dealer Agathe Gaillard chose to inaugurate her own photography gallery in Paris by exhibiting the work of Ralph Gibson for her opening on 10 June, 1975. Agathe Gaillard will be supporting the inaugural exhibition, making it a major venue for collectors, amateurs and photography enthusiasts. 

  • 12 color photographs (32" x 44")
  • Limited edition of 8, printed and signed by the artist
  • White wooden hand-made frames