Horst in Colour

Sat 13 Aug 2016Sat 24 Sep 2016
Opening Times: 
WED - FR 12:00 - 18:00 h, SA 10:00 - 16:00 h and by appointment

In cooperation with the Horst Estate Miami Bernheimer Fine Art is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of the American-German fashion photographer Horst P. Horst in Switzerland since 1988. The exhibition focuses on the artist’s colour photographs.

Horst P. Horst belongs to the most significant photographers of the 20th century. He is considered to be the doyen of the fashion photography of his times, however, until now only his black-and-white photography mainly retained public attention. Within this black-and-white body of work icons of classical photography are to be found such as the “Mainbocher Corset” from the year 1939.

Horst career as photographer started in the year 1931 in Paris at French Vogue Magazine. This decade was very dynamic and influential in the history of colour photography of the 20th century. Horst P. Horst discovered very fast the newest techniques and possibilities for him and became one of the most demanded colour photographers in the fashion field. He created more than 90 covers for the American publishing house Condé Nast, editor of Vogue and Vanity Fair. Some of these images belong to the most impressive photographs of the artist. In contrast to the black-and-white photographs none of them were shown in galleries or exhibitions until 2014. As in the time of their origin no prints were made. Finally the Condé Nast in cooperation with the Horst Estate estate opened its doors to release a small selection of Horst colour Kodachromes of the 1940s and 50s for the retrospective at the Victoria and Albert Museum London in autumn 2014. These works are considered to be the greatest discovery within the artist’s oeuvre and have been celebrated and admired by press and visitors worldwide at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well as at further destinations of this touring museum exhibition.

Horst Paul Albert Bohrman (Weißenfels 1906 – 1999 Palm Beach) was an American photographer of German origin. Under the name Horst P. Horst he became a celebrated fashion and portrait photographer who was renowned for his dramatic use of light.

In the late 1920s Horst enrolled to study architecture at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Hamburg, but already in 1930 he moved to Paris and started working at the studio of Le Corbusier for a short time of period. In Paris he met Vogue photographer Hoyningen-Huene who introduced him to French Vogue, where he finally became chief photographer. During this time he began spending more time in the USA and, by the late 1930’s, he had moved with Hoyningen-Huene to an apartment in New York. During World War II he served as a photographer for the US Army. After the war he again worked for Vogue in both Paris and New York. Horst was also advised by Diana Vreeland, chief editor of American Vogue, to photograph the lifestyle of the international High Society, which Horst did from the early 1960s through to the mid 1970s.

The classical fashion photographs of Horst P. Horst show his sense for geometric forms, strong compositions and his masterful use of light. He preferred to use medium format cameras, like Hasselblad and Rolleiflex, and work in a studio environment to allow him absolute control of staging and lighting. Amongst his most famous photographs are portraits of Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Gala, Salvador Dali and Yves Saint Laurent.

During the 1980s Horst intensified his publishing and exhibition activities. Together with his assignments for the Italian and Spanish Vogue, in 1984 he was also hired by Vanity Fair. He had several major solo shows in the 1980s; Venice (1985), London (1986), Munich (1987), Bremen (1987), Frankfurt (1988), Hamburg (1988), Los Angeles (1989), New York (1989), Huston (1990), Toronto (1990) and Atlanta (1990).

Horst Estate in Miami, Florida manages the estate of the artist.