The subject of this exhibition is women, filtered through Horst’s use of shadow and light to achieve his unique dramatic effects. Horst’s love of classical architecture and sculpture figures prominently in much of his work, as does the influence of Surrealism. His dramatic lighting, elegance and imaginative settings changed the look of portrait and fashion photography. In work from 1936 to 1987, Horst’s fashion, portrait, and still life photographs demonstrate his extreme sophistication and reflect the artistic spirit of their time. From the surrealism of Dali’s ballet costumes and disembodied hands to portraits of Chanel, Schiaparelli, Dietrich, the Bouvier sisters, and Yves Saint Laurent fashion, he is in tune with the era. Horst lived in the center of artistic and social activity of the 20th century.
Born into a conventional German family, he soon left for Paris and an apprenticeship with the great architect Le Corbusier. A chance meeting with the gifted photographer Baron George Hoyningen-Huene changed the course of his life, opening the doors to a career in photography and a life spent among the elite of Paris and New York. Horst began working for Vogue in 1932, dividing his year between Paris and New York until the outbreak of World War II, during which he served in the United States Army. Horst worked for Conde Nast publications, and over the course of sixty years he photographed fashion, interiors, and every artistic, political, and social figure of note.
Horst’s work has been the subject of numerous articles, books, and documentary films. Museum exhibitions have been held at the International Center of Photography, the Louvre, the Nassau County Museum, London’s National Portrait Gallery and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and a retrospective exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum London starting September 2014.
Takouhy Wise & Etheleen Staley
Photographs from the opening by Patricia Koo