Posts Tagged ‘Somerset House’

Photography | Guy Bourdin: Red or Dead

Friday, November 21st, 2014

Charles Jourdan advertising campaign, spring 1976



Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker
Somerset House
London | UK
27th November 2014 > 15th March 2015



Charles Jourdan advertising campaign, autumn 1977



The Pentax calendar, 1980



Vogue Paris, May 1970



Charles Jourdan advertising campaign, autumn 1979



The photographer Guy Bourdin (1928 > 1991), whose favourite colour was blood red, needs no introduction, and his uncompromising pictures tell their own stories. Good news for us, because we are on holiday this week and don’t have time to write one of our usual in-depth previews/reviews. Don’t miss Guy Bourdin: Image-Maker at Somerset House!

All images by Guy Bourdain © The Guy Bourdin Estate, 2014
Courtesy Somerset House



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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier



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Photography | Studio Erwin Blumenfeld

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Blumenfeld Studio: New York, 1941-1960
Somerset House
London, UK
23rd May – 1st September, 2013

Day and night I try, in my studio with its six two-thousand watt suns,
balancing between the extremes of the impossible, to shake loose the real from
the unreal, to give visions body, to penetrate into unknown transparencies.

Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969)

With around 100 colour photographs as well as archive material from fashion magazines, this show at Somerset House focuses on the work Erwin Blumenfeld – one of the most influential, innovative and sought-after fashion photographers of the 1940s and 1950s – produced at his studio in New York.

Born into a Jewish family in Berlin, Blumenfeld began taking photographs when he was just ten years old. His first job was as an apprentice dressmaker, but between 1916 and 1933 he produced dadist montages in Germany, where he was closely associated with George Grosz, before moving first to Holland, then to Paris in 1936, where he met Cecil Beaton, who got him an introduction to Vogue. However, as a result of his publishing bitingly mocking collages of Adolf Hitler, Blumenfeld spent the occupation years in a concentration camp, eventually fleeing Europe with his family for the United States in 1941. In New York he worked in the studio of Martin Munkacsi until his own career started to flourish. Taken up by Russian emigré art director Alexey Brodovitch, who was fostering  the development of an expressionistic, almost primal style of picture-making at Harper’s Bazaar, Blumenfeld continued to work for Vogue, gaining him a reputation as the highest paid freelance photographer in New York. He went on to produce advertising campaigns for top cosmetics clients such as Helena Rubinstein, Elizabeth Arden and L’Oreal.

Blumenfeld had a passion for the female form, which he expressed through headily erotic images in which mirrors, gauzy fabrics, screens, wet silk and elaborately contrived shadows and angles were used to enhance or discreetly mask the body. He became a master of complex studio photography and developed sophisticated techniques of solarisation and superimposition that, even today, continue to influence photographers. The renowned fashion photographer Sølve Sundsbø recently commented: ‘Blumenfeld was shooting 60 years ago what the rest of us will be shooting in 10 years time’.

Images from top
City Lights

Support for the Red Cross
American Vogue cover, March, 1945

Grace Kelly
Cosmopolitan, 1955

Spring Fashion
American Vogue, 1953

All images ©The Estate of Erwin Blumenfeld


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The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Auction | René Gruau

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Christie’s Interiors – Style & Spirit
London, South Kensington, UK
Sale: 29th January, 2013
Viewing: January 26th-29th

If you missed the wonderful Dior Illustrated: René Gruau and the Line of Beauty show at London’s Somerset House in 2010, or, if you were fortunate enough to see it but came away aching to own one or more of Gruau’s chic and uncompromisingly graphic, highly collectible, original artworks, here’s your chance. Amongst a mixed bag of almost 400 lots that includes items as diverse as a very handsome pair of mid-20th century German, steel, 10 x 8 field binoculars by Busch (Estimate £2,000-4,000), and a pre-17th century composite elephant bird egg from Madagascar (Estimate £5,000 – 8,000), the catalogue for the forthcoming Christie’s Interiors – Style & Spirit sale, lists four Gruau’s, all at fairly affordable prices.

Images by René Gruau, from top
Point d’exclamation, circa 1950
Gouache on paper, signed
Estimate £2,000-3,000

Le masque, circa 1950
Gouache on paper, signed
Estimate £1,500-2,000

Lady in red, circa 1970
Ink and gouache on paper, signed
Estimate £4,000-6,000

Model for glove, circa 1950
Gouache and ink on paper, unsigned
Estimate £3,000-5,000

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The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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