PARIS.- From 2-31 July 2013, the Galerie Charpentier will host an exclusive exhibition devoted on one of the major figures of 20th century photography: Cecil Beaton.
Thirty photographs from the Cecil Beaton archives, some of them never seen in public before, will pay homage to the iconic 20th century lensman who, in the years after World War II, lived at 44 rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, just a few steps from the Galerie Charpentier.
Exhibition scenographer Alexis Mabille was enthralled by the idea of selecting images featuring some of the most famous figures from the 1930s-1970s, like Madame Grès, Marie-Laure de Noailles, Rudolph Nureyev, Charles de Gaulle, Christian Bérard or Coco Chanel. From the leading figures of European and New York high society to the great couturiers, iconic artists, sculptors and the politicians who shaped the post-war world... Cecil Beaton bore witness to a revolutionary century! I adore his work as a photographer and illustrator, not forgetting the costumes he designed for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady!
Cecil Beatons legacy is more than just a source of inspiration: it is a veritable artistic heritage to which designers can look to soak themselves in the zestful mood of an era. Whether his subjects are staring brazenly at the camera or discreetly avoiding it, Cecil Beaton had a unique way of capturing their soul and the vibrancy or vulnerability they radiated.
Cecil Beaton (1904-80) was a fashion photographer, scenographist and costume designer for the theatre and cinema. He began working for the U.S. edition of Vogue in the 1920s before joining the British edition in 1931, and staying with the magazine until 1950. His popularity dated from his debut exhibition in London in 1926, and he was appointed official photographer to the British royal family in 1937 before working for the Ministry of Information during the Second World War.
His stylized, sophisticated photographic portraits tellingly evoked a world apart. Cecil Beaton chronicled high society in the 20th century: the Royal Family, the aristocracy, swinging London and bohemian New York.
From the 1920s until the end of his career, his uvre was unmatched for its skill in portraying members of the international élite whether showbiz stars like Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire or Mick Jagger; crowned heads or politicians like Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle; artists and writers like Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, David Hockney or Andy Warhol; and fashion designers such as Schiaparelli, Dior, Chanel or Yves Saint-Laurent.
His work was the subject of two retrospectives at Londons National Portrait Gallery, in 1968 and 2004.
Since launching his own brand in 2005, Alexis Mabille has blended traditional clothing, sex-appeal and contemporary dynamics with wit and elegance. His collections were initially unisex, exploiting cuts flattering to both men and women. He has also enjoyed dusting down the bow-tie and transforming it into his personal icon, revisiting it in unexpected volumes and materials. His ideas about enhancing the human body have evolved to yield both male and female prêt-à-porter ranges, accessories, underwear and Haute Couture. Since December 2012 he has figured in the official Haute Couture calendar.
Sothebys & The Cecil Beaton Archives
Sothebys acquired the Cecil Beaton Archives in London in 1977. They include some 110,000 negatives; 12,000 vintage prints; 42 photo albums; portraits of the most outstanding figures of the 20th century; and the personal diaries Beaton kept from 1922 to 1974.
Sothebys has recourse to a dedicated Photo Library to help preserve, publish and promote this amazing ensemble.