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Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre

Fontana is pleased to present the new exhibition Movie Theaters by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre. The collaboration between the gallery and these two French photographers once started with their series 'Ruins of Detroit', which we showed in our first gallery on Keizersgracht, back in 2012. Many of you still remember this first highly applauded exhibition of theirs.


Photos of the former Golden Age of the American cinematic experience were captured using a large-format 4x5 camera with slow shutter rates in poorly illuminated theaters. These images are known as the "Cathedrals of Cinema" of America. 


When the main film studios competed to build opulent halls to entice and excite their viewers, between 1910 and 1920, many of the theaters documented by Marchand and Meffre were built. A night at the movies was a luxurious event when the theaters themselves became just as alluring as the films being shown.


Multiplexes and retail malls rendered these cinemas useless after the 1929 stock market crash and during the post-war era, inevitably forcing them to fall into disrepair. Many of them were converted, frequently with amusing outcomes, into a variety of functions, such as churches, retail space, flea markets, bingo halls, discos, supermarkets, gymnasiums, or warehouses. Some are still largely the same, while others conflict with their new use, creating unexpected spaces that serve as an intriguing record of American history. 


The photographs of Marchand and Meffre symbolize some of the survivors of a century of industrial, aesthetic, and social transformation. Their tenacity sparked nostalgia for the American film industry's golden age, which spread American culture, morals, and entertainment throughout the world.


We are pleased to present one of our personal favorite photographs from this series, Paramount Theater, Brooklyn, NY. This photograph and others are found in prestigious international private and public collections such as The Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase Art Collection, Deutsches Filminstitut, Fondation Hermès. Commissions include LVMH, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris – Comité Vendôme, Place Vendôme, Paris – La Samaritaine, Paris, and many more.


A copy of their new book Movie Theaters will be available for collectors in the gallery.

Saturday 29 October 2022 - Saturday 21 January 2023


Wednesday - Saturday 
13.00 - 18.00

For an appointment outside opening hours:

+31 (0)20 22 3 88 33


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