HORST P. HORST – FASHION IN COLOUR

Fri 5 Dec 2014Sat 31 Jan 2015

Bernheimer Fine Art Photography presents the exhibition HORST P. HORST – FASHION IN COLOUR in the Munich Gallery, Brienner Straße 7.

This is the third exhibition Bernheimer Fine Art Photography have shown in cooperation with the Horst Estate, Miami, but it is the first public exhibition, along with the Retrospective at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, to display colour photographs by the artist. This exhibition also marks Blanca Bernheimer’s appointment to exclusively represent the Horst Estate in mainland Europe.

Horst P. Horst is one of the most important photographers of the twentieth century and was internationally renowned, particularly for his portrait and black and white fashion photography. He is regarded as a master in the history of fashion photography, and many of his photos, such as Mainbocher Corset (1939), are icons of classic photography.

In 1931 Horst started his artistic career at French Vogue in Paris. The 1930’s were a dynamic and formative decade for the evolution of colour photography. In 1935 Kodak Kodachrome, the first colour photographic film that allowed for rich, nuanced scale of natural colours, was released. Horst immediately took advantage of the possibilities of this new technology to become a successful photographer. He was most prolific from the late 1930’s through to the early 1950’s, shooting over ninety magazine covers for magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair and American Condé Nast. Many of these cover photos, for example Muriel Maxwell, ensemble by Sally Victor, bag by Paul Flato, sunglasses by Lugene, 1939, Barbara ‘Babe’ Cushing Mortimer Paley, dress by Traina-Norell, 1946 or Jean Patchett, bathing suit by Brigance, 1951 can also be viewed as impressive stand alone photographs. It is these images of famous models and Hollywood actresses wearing the latest designer fashions that manage to convey a sense of effortless style. The photographs’ elegance, spontaneity and fresh poses enhance the glimpse into the American Dream that Horst captured.

Whilst his black and white photography is charaterised by a dramatic use of light and shadow, Horst’s colour photographs juxtapose bold primary colours to create a strong contrast. His compositions make sensational bright, clear photographs that have a timeless quality and appeal, as well as offering a snapshot of American life of the period.

Unlike his famous black and white photographs, Horst’s colour photographs have never been publicly exhibited until now because they remained with the magazines. At the time, photographers gave their Kodachrome film directly to the magazines and did not have the photographs printed separately. Only recently has the Condé Nast archive, founded in the 1920’s, opened its doors to the Horst Estate to choose a selection of the artist’s Kodachromes from the 1940’s and 1950’s for new editions to be printed. These works are considered to be a major discovery and addition to the artist’s oeuvre, as recognised by the Victoria & Albert Museum in their retrospective exhibition and the wide media acclaim this has received.

Now, over half a century after they were taken, these rare colour photographs that not only include fashion photos, such as those at the Victoria & Albert Museum, but additional interior and portrait photography, will be shown for the first time in HORST P. HORST – FASHION IN COLOUR in the Bernheimer Gallery in Munich, Brienner Straße 7.