The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Edward Steichen: In High Fashion at Kunstmuseum Wolsburg
Edward Steichen, White, 1935, Gelatin Silver Print. Courtesy Condé Nast Archive, New York. © 1935 Condé Nast Publications.
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY.-Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg presents today Edward Steichen In High Fashion, on view through January 4, 2009. In the fourteen years since it opened, the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg has regularly presented the medium of photography in exhibitions devoted to the work of individual artists. To date these have included Lee Miller, Cecil Beaton, Brassaï, Richard Avedon, Man Ray, Pietro Donzelli and Ed van der Elsken. We have also explored the relationship between art and fashion in exhibitions such as Avantgarderobe and Hussein Chalayan. Fashion & Video. Now, with Edward Steichen. In High Fashion, we pay homage to a photographer who, more than any other, defined fashion photography in the 1920s and ’30s.

Edward Steichen (1879–1973) had already achieved considerable success as a painter and photographer on both sides of the Atlantic before being offered, in early 1923, one of the most prestigious and lucrative posts in the field of commercial photography: that of chief photographer of the influential magazines Vogue and Vanity Fair, both published by Condé Nast. Over the next fifteen years he devoted his exceptional talents and boundless enthusiasm to portraying contemporary culture and its leading figures from the fields of literature, journalism, dance, sport, politics, theatre and film. Above all, however, Steichen’s photographs featured glamorous haute couture creations. Over the course of his career he created an impressive and unique oeuvre.

Along with his outstanding fashion photographs, more than 2,000 vintage prints by Steichen are held in the Edward Steichen Archive at Condé Nast, including superb portraits of Winston Churchill, Cecil B. DeMille, Marlene Dietrich, Amelia Earhart, Greta Garbo, George Gershwin, Frank Lloyd Wright and hundreds of other famous personalities. However, only a handful of these images have ever been presented to the public, either in exhibitions or in printed form. The Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg is showing a selection of Steichen’s photographs from the 1920s and ’30s, which represent the highpoint of his photographic career. Among the works he created for Vogue and Vanity Fair during this time are some of the most iconic images of twentieth-century photography.

Since making its first appearance in Paris, fashion photography had focussed primarily on the dress or other featured article of clothing, with models being used simply as ‘display dummies’. Steichen, on the other hand, preferred to stage scenarios where it seemed as if he had been commissioned to produce a portrait of a personality with a certain position in society, and where the dress was only a secondary attribute. In his photographs, the lines and contours of the models’ bodies are artfully set off by pieces of furniture or accentuated by the backdrops. His compositions range from the portrait-like to the decoratively defamiliarized, from images with a snapshot quality to soberly realistic portrayals.

Unlike Man Ray or Erwin Blumenfeld, the two other art photographers of the period who lent their talents to the fashion and glamour industry, Steichen eschewed avant-garde stylistic features in his commercial photography; he developed a pragmatically professional visual language that does not seek to impress with radical stylistic means. His approach to Hollywood ‘glamour shots’, film stills and the eroticized portraits of Broadway stars was similarly detached. Steichen’s style can be compared to the urbane, elegantly controlled eroticism of Art Deco.

For Steichen, commercial photography represented a new beginning in terms of his technique. He realized that a photograph printed using the halftone process required different lighting than a vintage print that would be framed and hung on a wall. The use of artificial light thus became a central aspect of his work. Steichen developed a working method similar to that of a film production, in that an extensive crew was required from the outset to handle the various aspects of production: from stage design and lighting, make-up and styling to copying prints, lithography, retouching, right through to incorporating the final images into a magazine layout.

Steichen’s photography was deeply influenced by the history of painting: from its beginnings in the Renaissance and Baroque periods to the bourgeois fashion for portraits and the salon painting style of Art Deco, painting provided an endless repertoire of ways to glamourize the individual. Steichen made full use of these formal possibilities, experimenting with a broad range of poses, gestures and backdrops. The autonomous value of his photographs was no longer dominated by the need to clearly represent a particular dress or person. The exhibition in Wolfsburg presents individual, double and group portraits in all the variations of traditional portraiture. His images also reveal forms similar to those used by the painters Edgar Degas and Edouard Manet in their syntheses of portrait and still life or of portrait and interior. Indeed the express aim and vision of this outstanding photographer was to “Make Vogue a Louvre”.

Steichen’s genius, his assertive, experimental approach that never looked back at past photographic styles, is also manifested in his demand that all the work he did for the publishing house – not just his portraits but also the fashion spreads – be published under his own name, and only under his name – in other words as auteur photography. The assumption at Condé Nast had been that Steichen would want ‘mere’ commissioned works to be published anonymously or under a pseudonym, and this would have been acceptable for the publishers. But for Steichen it was out of the question: “I told them that when I take a photograph, I vouch for it with my name;
I wouldn’t take it otherwise.” This emphatic and at that time quite daring commitment to fashion photography as auteur photography created new opportunities for future generations of photographers. Steichen straightforwardly defined the fashion photographer as a an auteur, as an artist who happens to apply his greatest talent to commercial photography; as such he can be regarded as the ‘father’ of all those who came after him: Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn, Helmut Newton, Jeanloup Sieff, Guy Bourdin, Herb Ritts and others.

The exhibition comprises 230 vintage prints and has been organized in collaboration with the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography in Minneapolis and the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. The exhibition is held under the patronage of Her Excellency Mrs. Martine Schommer, Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg.

A catalogue has been published by Hatje Cantz to accompany the exhibition: 288 pages, 242 colour illustrations, with contributions by Tobia Bezzola, Todd Brandow, William A. Ewing, Nathalie Herschdorfer and Carol Squiers. The catalogue is available at a price of 38,00 € at the museum's shop.





Last Week News

October 10, 2008

Total Enlightenment: Conceptual Art in Moscow, 1960-1990 at Fundacion Juan March

Richard Avedon: Larger Than Life Opens at Grand Rapids Art Museum

Patricia Urquiola: Purely Porcelain Opens at Design Museum in London

The Best of Photography and Film from the George Eastman House Collection Opens at Frist Center

National Portrait Gallery Presents Women of Our Time: Twentieth Century Photographs

First Major Museum Survey of Tara Donovan Opens at ICA/Boston

First U.S. Survey of Chantal Akerman's Work Opens at Miami Art Museum

Special Photography Exhibition to Celebrate the Generosity of Baroness Jeane von Oppenheim

Cheekwood Holds Dual Opening for Contemporary Artist Michael Oliveri and New Video Installation

Cybele Varela - Ad Sidera, per Athanasius Kircher Opens at Naples National Library

Columbus Museum of Art Presents Murray Jones: Unfolding Vision

The Life of Things - The Idea of Still Life in Photography 1840 - 1985

James Cauty and Son Collaborate at The Aquarium

Grubb & Ellis Realty Investors to Host Art Exhibition in Marfa, Continue Commitment to the Arts

Xerxes Fine Arts Presents My Freedom - Golnaz Fathi

Lawrence and Sharon Tarantino Receive Wright Spirit Award

Rhodes College and the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art to Host Italian Renaissance Sculpture Conference

Steven Holl Receives 2008 National Arts Club Gold Medal Award

Abraaj Capita Art Prize to Announce Finalists of First Competition

October 9, 2008

Picasso/Delacroix: Women of Algiers in Their Apartment Exhibition Opens at The Louvre

Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock and Roll Since 1967

New Museum Organizes First Elizabeth Peyton Survey and International Tour of Over 100 Works

Christie's to Offer Important Selection of Chinese Contemporary Art from The Collection of Oliver Stone

The Schirn Presents a Retrospective of Painter Peter Doig

Fales Promoted to Associate Director and Named Interim Executive Director for Boise Art Museum

Full Spectrum Dominance Simon Norfolk Opens at Michael Hoppen Contemporary

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer Presents Frequency and Volume at Barbican Art Gallery

The Netherlandish Renaissance: Drawings from the Budapest Museum on View at The Louvre

West Coast Artist Awarded $50,000

Mexican Modernists Exhibition Cancelled

MFAH Seeking Applicants for Fellowship Program in France

Russian Literature and Art: From The Silver Age to The Soviets - October 29

The Claremont Museum of Art Honors James Fuller and Dr. John D. Maguire at The Art Gala: 2008

The Allan Houser Estate Announces Grounds For Sculpture Exhibition

Westside: First Shopping Center by World-Renowned Architect Daniel Libeskind Opens

USC Art Historian Richard Meyer Revisits Andy Warhol's Controversial Exhibition

Maine Center for Creativity Announces Winner of Art All Around International Design Competition

Corporate Community Continues to Support the AGO Through Bold New Partnerships

October 8, 2008

Picasso and the Masters Opens at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris

Saatchi Gallery Opens at Duke of York's HQ Building, Chelsea

Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Unveils Renovation/Expansion Design

Musée d'Orsay Opens Picasso / Manet: The Luncheon on the Grass

Sotheby's To Spearhead its Contemporary Art Sale with Andy Warhol's Skulls Series

The Avant-garde and Sport in the IVAM Collection on View at Bancaja Cultural Centre of Alicante

Cindy Sherman Honored at the Brooklyn Museum's Women in the Arts Fundraising Luncheon

John Milton's Paradise Lost at The Morgan Library & Museum

The Infinite Landscape: Master Photographers from the UMMA Collection

AGO Acquires Three New Works at Toronto International Art Fair

Rare Historical Documents from Israel's Near and Distant Past on Display for First Time

Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Acquires Harry Shunk Photographic Archive

SFMOMA Boasts Record Numbers for Frida Kahlo

Kemper at the Crossroads' First Exhibition Jeff Shore and Jon Fisher: Reel to Reel Opens November 7

Arcology Appoints a Globally Distinguished Architect to Design its Dubai Based Projects

October 7, 2008

Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms Opens at The Hayward Gallery in London

1914! The Avant-garde and the Great War Opens at the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum in Madrid

Dynamic Exhibition of Modern British Prints on View at Metropolitan Museum

Christie's Fall Sale of 19th Century European and and Orientalist Art Offers Discoveries of the Exquisite

Tampa Museum of Art Hires Todd D. Smith as Executive Director

Dali Foundation Presents Metamorphosis of Narcissus on Loan From Tate Gallery

All Aboard Eastman House for TRAINS! Photography Exhibitions

Chain of Office Given to One of Henry VIII's Closest Advisors to be Offered at Christie's in November

Sotheby's Sale of Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Paintings Brings US$9,165,947

Magnificent Medals from Brandenburg-Prussia on View at Kunsthistorisches Museum

Sotheby's Announces Plans to Open an Office in Qatar

Willard Wigan MBE Exhibition is Extended at Hard Days Night Hotel Gallery

Journals of the Days: Jacobshagen Notebooks Tour Nebraska's Arboreta

New Woodrow Wilson Presidential Memorial Exhibit Open to the Public

BRC Imagination Arts' Bob Rogers to Receive The Order of Lincoln, Illinois' Highest Honor

October 6, 2008

Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome Opens Major Monographic Exhibition on Giovanni Bellini

Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert to Show Early Works from 1939-1954 by Lucian Freud

MoMA's International Festival of Film Preservation Showcases Newly Restored Masterworks

Baltimore Museum of Art Presents Rarely Shown British Landscapes

The Art of Italy in the Royal Collection: The Baroque to Open in November

Sotheby's Print Auction on October 30 and 31 to include Edvard Munch's Iconic Work The Scream

Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection on View Next Year in Manchester

Contemporary Art Biennial Opens in Seville Including Works by Nam June Paik and Bill Viola

Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam Opens Audrey Corregan: Obviously

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Welcomes Spared from the Storm

Classic 1930s Street Photographs of New York City on View at Metropolitan Museum

British Artist Charlotte Mann Creates Stunning Mural for The School of Life

Beside the Seaside: Snapshots of British Coastal Life, 1880-1950 on View at the National Maritime Museum

Weighing and Wanting: Selections From the Collections Opened at Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego

October 5, 2008

Impressionist Masterwork by Edgar Degas to be Sold By Sotheby's in November in New York

Rich Legacy of African Textiles on View in Metropolitan Museum Exhibition

Tradition in Transition: Russian Icons in the Age of the Romanovs Opens at Memorial Art Gallery

Sotheby's New York Sale of 19th Century European Art to be Held on October 23

Allan Ramsay Self-Portrait Leads Christie's Auction of Scottish Art in October 2008

Pieter Hugo: The Hyena & Other Men at Fotografiemuseum in Amsterdam

One-of-a-Kind Salvador Dali Dedicatory Drawings Collection

Extraordinary Diverse Work of Ana Maria Pacheco to be Shown at The Herbert in Coventry

Sculptor Jesús Moroles to Create Reflecting Pool Installation for Joslyn Art Museum

DAR Museum Showcases Antique Toy Collection in New Exhibition

Exhibition Featuring Work of Leonardo da Vinci to Open at High Museum in October 2009

Raident Technology, Inc. Establishes Scholarships at Academy of Art University San Francisco

Avant-Garde China: Twenty Years of Chinese Contemporary Art on View at National Art Center

National Museum of the American Indian Presents Major Retrospective of Fritz Scholder's Art

Unique Temporary Printing Machine Highlights Ephemeral Nature of Digital Data

Christie's New York Announces European Decorative Arts Month

AT & T Donates $500,000 in Artwork to Community organizations in California

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Image of a Christ without a beard, short hair and wearing a toga unearthed in Spain

2.- Giant mosaic unearthed in mysterious tomb in Amphipolis in northern Macedonia

3.- Bonhams sale of 18th century French decorative arts to benefit Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

4.- Paris flustered by erection of 'sex-toy' sculpture; Paul McCarthy slapped by a passer-by

5.- High art or vile pornography? Marquis de Sade explored in Orsay museum exhibition

6.- 'Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection' opens at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

7.- Greek culture minister says Elgin Marbles return a matter of 'global heritage'

8.- Vandals deflate Paris 'sex-toy' sculpture by American artist Paul McCarthy after outrage

9.- Exhibition at National Gallery in London explores Rembrandt's final years of painting

10.- 'Hans Memling: A Flemish Renaissance' opens at the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome

Related Stories



Important Judaica and Israeli & international art bring a combined $7.9 million at Sotheby's New York

Tunisia to auction ousted despot's treasures

Andy Warhol's Mao portraits excluded from the Beijing and Shanghai shows next year

China criticises French Qing dynasty seal auction

Christie's announces auction marking the first half century of the popular and luxurious interiors shop Guinevere

Nine new exhibits debut at San Diego International Airport

Rembrandt masterpiece "Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet" back on display at National Museum Cardiff

Amber: 40-million-year-old fossilised tree resin is Baltic gold

Egyptian artist Iman Issa wins the Ist FHN Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona Award

The main chapel of the Basilica of Santa Croce open for visits after five year restoration



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site