Cosmonauts, Leningrad Avenue, Moscow, 1972 [Photo credit: Henri Cartier-Bresson]

Gallery Beetles + Huxley said the show promises to be ‘one of the most significant photography exhibitions in London this spring’.

Plucked from a private collection, the prints will go on display from 25 February-26 March.

Organisers say the exhibition will feature a ‘fascinating balance of images’, some well known and others ‘virtually unseen’.

They add: ‘In particular, the collection boasts several unusual sets of photographs including Paris (particularly the 1968 student protests), the USSR during the early 1970s [see above], and celebrity portraiture – an often overlooked element of Cartier-Bresson’s oeuvre.’

Featured portraits include Francis Bacon, Coco Chanel, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse.

There will also be a series of talks and events to celebrate the photographer’s association with Leica, according to a gallery spokesperson who added: ‘Best known for using a lightweight Leica camera to develop the concept of the “decisive moment”, Cartier-Bresson transformed photojournalism into an art form that balanced powerful subject matter with perfectly timed, elegant composition.’

Leica will be displaying a number of vintage cameras in the gallery, similar to ones used by Cartier-Bresson.

The show may prove a hit. A short exhibition of 10 Cartier-Bresson photographs at Somerset House pulled in almost 90,000 visitors between 8 November 2012 and 27 January 2013.

Beetles + Huxley is located at 3-5 Swallow Street, London W1B 4DE. Tel: 0207 434 4319.