Pierre Boucher French, 1908-2000


Pierre Boucher began as an illustrator in the advertising department of the Printemps department store chain, then joined the Tolmer workshop (led by Claude Tolmer and Alexey Brodovich who held his classes there from 1926 to 1927).

The House, which specialised in advertising for companies connected to the world of luxury goods and fashion (Piguet, Lelong, Molyneux, Patou, etc.) incorporated a graphics workshop where Pierre Boucher worked from 1927 to 1928, and a photography workshop where Jean Moral worked from 1928 to 1932. Jean Moral worked on illustrations and photography, drawing Pierre Boucher's attention to photography.

From 1928 to 1930, during his military service, Boucher studied photography in the air force's photography division. Perhaps because of his beginnings at the Tolmer studio, Boucher was more aware of graphics, and never lost his taste for photomontage and recomposing images. His photos range from experimentation to documentary photography, dipping into photo-graphics, industrial photography, reportages and nude photography along the way. 

Of the photographers here, he was certainly the most open to different currents. His collaboration with René Zuber, who was aware of the Bauhaus' aesthetic, put him on the path toward New Objectivity, and his work with nudes turned towards phantasmagoria. 

"Like Man Ray, Pierre Boucher is above all an illustrator. He astonishes us with the extreme richness of his ideas, his limitless imagination, his original, confident taste. For him, photography is a second way of expressing the artistic thought that his pencil has already sketched ». (Nu en photographie, with photographs by Laure Albin Guillot, Pierre Boucher, Man Ray, Roger Schall (Paris: Éditions Mana, 1937), 27.)


From 1922 to 1925, Pierre Boucher attended the School of Applied Arts in Paris, where he met Roger Parry. After his studies at the end of the 1920s, he began working at the printing publisher Draeger Frères, collaborated with the American magazine The Spur, for which he made fashion sketches for the biggest designers. He was subsequently hired by the illustration workshop of the department store Printemps, which he left to work with the publisher Claude Tolmer. There he met Louis Caillaud and Jean Moral, who brought him into contact with modern photography. In 1932, he became an intern at Studio Deberny Peignot, where he met Maurice Tabard, Roger Parry, Maurice Cloche and René Zuber. He then joined the studio that Zuber set up and the two men helped to found the agency Alliance Photo with Maria Eisner in 1934. Exploring all the possibilities of photography – reportage, Photo-graphism, nudes, solarisation, photograms, deformation – Pierre Boucher was visible everywhere in the exhibits and publications of the 1930s.


Collective Works

Daniel Masclet, Nus: La beauté de la femme (Album of the first International Salon of Nude Photography, self-published, 1933)

Marcel Natkin, L’art de voir en photographie (Paris: Éditions Tiranty, 1935)

Albert Mentzel, Albert Roux, Formes Nues (Paris: Arts et métiers graphiques, 1935)

Abel Bonnard, Rémy Duval, JH Lartique, 28 Études de nus (Paris: Arts et métiers graphiques, 1936) 

Le Nu en photographie, with photographs by Laure Albin Guillot, Pierre Boucher, Man Ray, Roger Schall (Paris: Éditions Mana, 1937)

Individual Works

Truquages en photographies (Paris: Éditions Mana, 1938)

Méthode française de ski, technique Emile Allais, preface by Roger Frison-Roche (Paris: Éditions Flèche, 1947)

Photographiste (Paris: Contrejour, 1988)


Photographies d’Arts et Métiers Graphiques (1932-33,1935-39); Art et médecine, Paris-Magazine, Le Document, Revue Ford, VU, Regards

Art Fairs