The Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in San Gimignano hosts a major retrospective of Helmut Newton.
The exhibition, has been devised by Matthias Harder, curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, who has selected 60 photographs designed to offer as broad an overview as possible of this great German photographer’s extensive career. The event is promoted by the Musei Civici of the Comune di San Gimignano and produced by Opera-Civita in conjunction with the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin.
The exhibition opens “ideally” with a portrait of Andy Warhol produced for Vogue Uomo in 1974, while his most recent work is the fabulous photograph of Leni Riefenstahl taken in 2000. Over this long timespan, Newton produced some of the most powerful and innovative photos of his time. The exhibition hosts some twenty-five of his numerous portraits of famous figures of the 20th century, including Gianni Agnelli (1997), Paloma Picasso (1983), Catherine Deneuve (1976), Anita Ekberg (1988), Claudia Schiffer (1992) and Gianfranco Ferrè (1996); while his major fashion campaigns on display in the exhibition include a number of campaigns produced for Mario Valentino and Thierry Mugler in 1998, together with a series of important – in fact now iconic – pictures taken for the world’s leading fashion magazine.
Newton used and yet simultaneously questioned visual clichés, occasionally embellishing them with self-deprecating irony or sarcasm, while always maintaining a certain degree of empathy with them. Newton succeeded in subtly combining nudity and fashion with a sense of timeless elegance. His work may thus be seen as a testimonial to, and an interpretation of, the changing role of the woman in Western society.
Women stand at the very heart of his world, his art hallowing personalities of the calibre of Paloma Picasso, Ornella Muti, Catherine Deneuve and Carla Bruni, to mention but a few. From the very start of his career, Newton managed to surround himself with figures of consequence from the publishing world who appreciated his visual concept. The result is a corpus of work which, in transcending genres and styles, reached out to a vast audience, in particular through fashion magazines. His fashion photographs went well beyond standard practice, producing a parallel narrative occasionally imbued with surrealism or suspense, like an Alfred Hitchcock movie where the boundary between reality and the stage set is often blurred and where elements are combined to create a game of power and seduction.
Exhibition to run
18 April – 1 September 2019
San Gimignano – Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea
Via Folgore, 11
18 April – 1 September: 10.00 am – 7.30 pm
€ 9.00 full price;
€ 7.00 concessions.