Jacques Léonard Archive

The author:

Jacques Léonard (Paris 1909 – L’Escala 1994), left written and photographic testimony of his life and time. His personal story is curious: he was the son of a wealthy French family, and he married Rosario Amaya, a Catalan gypsy from the Hostafrancs neighborhood. With this “against the tide” love story, arose in a bohemian party in Barcelona, Léonard begins an intense trajectory, marked by the photographer’s fascination for gypsy culture, which led him to make a magnificent portrait of a community and an era.


The archive:

The Jacques Léonard Family Archive, with negatives and vintage copies from the early 1940s to the 1970s, has been inherited by his sons Santiago and Álex Léonard, and is currently represented by Photographic Social Vision.

The archive is an intimate narrative about one of the territorial and cultural peripheries of Barcelona: the Montjuïc barracks, which welcomed a large gypsy community. Originally linked to the cinema, Léonard is the creator of a frieze of customs and rituals of gypsy culture, observed with a look at once historical and contemporary, far from conventional photographic rhetoric.

Recently, as a result of the study of his archive, it has been discovered that Léonard made a report in December 1943 to document the passage of thousands of young people, mostly French, through Madrid and Malaga, trying to flee from fascism and embark to Africa. From these photographs, the exhibition “Évadés 29 décémbre 1943” was born. It is one of the very few graphic testimonials that exist of this historical moment.

The photographer’s grandson, Yago Léonard, tries to piece together his entire story in the documentary ‘El payo Chac’, produced by Curt Ficcions. The documentary include testimonials of the photographer’s children and images recovered from his archive.


¿How has Photographic Social Vision worked with this archive?


The foundation has developed tasks of:

> copyright management
> coordination of professional agenda
> communication management on web / networks
> institutional relations
> sale of photographic prints on the art market
> book sale
> curating, production and coordination of exhibitions

> In 2019, as a result of an exhaustive inventory, cataloging and digitization of almost 18,000 negatives, thanks to the support of the Barcelona Photographic Archive and Léonard’s sons, we launched the website www.jacquesleonard.com that brings together all his work, bibliography and filmography.


Here you can see the traveling exhibition “Barcelona Gitana” with photographs of the author.

For any additional information or itineraries of the exhibition you can contact maria.planas@photographicsocialvision.org or phone: 93 217 3663 (Foundation Headquarters)


Some representative photographs © Jacques Léonard Family Archive
Trailer of the documentary "El payo Chac"