Jacques-Henri Lartigue, one of the major photographic artists of the century, died Friday in Nice, a hospital source said. He was 92.
A prodigy, he was given his first camera at the age of 5 and began making photos of artistic merit almost from the outset. He also was trained as a painter, and over the years had many one-man shows of both his photographs and his paintings.
The last major exhibition of Lartigue's photographs was held in May at the Grand-Palais Museum in Paris. Although best known for his action pictures, one of his most famous photographs was the official portrait of French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing in 1974, made at the president's request.
He became widely known in the United States when New York's Museum of Modern Art exhibited his photographs in 1963. A traveling exhibit of his photographs was shown in 1983 at the University of California, Santa Barbara, museum.
Known for his keen kinetic sense, he made outstanding action photographs of automobile and air races, sporting events and ordinary people performing acrobatic stunts.
"His other favorite subject," wrote Times art critic William Wilson, "was women."
It was estimated that he made 250,000 photographs during his lifetime.