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Artcurial to auction 33 iconic prints by Francis Giacobetti
Francis Giacobetti, portrait of the Dalaï Lama, Hymn series, estimate: 4 000 – 6 000 € / 4 400 – 6 600 $.


PARIS.- Francis Giacobetti is undoubtedly one of France’s greatest living photographers. With his lens, he has captured the world’s most beautiful women, the greatest stars, was friends with artists of renown, including César and Francis Bacon. For a great many people, he is also known as the man behind the movie Emmanuelle’s poster photography.

In October 2017, Artcurial, Éditions Assouline and Editions First join together to celebrate this photographic giant with an art book gathering together his most beautiful photos, published at First, in which the artist recalls the encounters marking his life, sharing his artistic vision; the auction of 33 iconic prints offering a complete perspective of Francis Giacobetti’s career, from the invention of the glamour shot for Lui magazine to the series commissioned by Issey Miyake.

Inventor of most of the iconic vocabulary of the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s, Francis Giacobetti created the most evocative images of an entire generation. Frédéric Beigbeder, a fan of the Master, will pen the foreword of the catalogue of the 17th October auction.

« I love photography, provided that it does no harm anyone. With it, I stole hundredths of a second from faces, and these faces will never be quite what they were in reality. A mother seldom recognises her own child. I am therefore a thief and a liar, and I love it. […] Beauty intrigues me. The few millimetres between an eye, a nose and a mouth that make all the difference between a charming or photogenic model. » ---Francis Giacobetti, Photographer

Francis Giacobetti, 33 photos for a 55 year-career
On 17th October 2017, Artcurial will welcome an entire generation of Frenchmen who grew up with Francis Giacobetti’s iconographic and stylistic vocabulary. For the very first time, during a monographic event, the photographer will auction off 33 iconic prints, selected amongst work from his career spanning 55 years.

Born in 1939 in Marseille, Francis Giacobetti begins his career as a reporter. He works for Paris Match and American magazine Life. However, in 1963, inspired by Playboy, he creates Lui with Daniel Filipacchi. The publication is greeted with resounding acclaim, becoming a phenomenon of society. The provocative cover photography reveals international stars or models in lascivious positions and sexy lingerie. The cover is graced by Jane Birkin, Raquel Welsh and Jane Fonda. The photos are invariably taken by Francis Giacobetti. He sometimes even shoots the entire content of the magazine, using various aliases. As the issues hit the newsstands, he gradually becomes the Pope of the Glamour Shot, confessing « Nude is undoubtedly the hardest art form. I did not chose it, it was instinctive. » The auction will carry the famous Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin series, depicting a couple in a domestic fight in a hotel room. Published in Lui in 1974, it is associated with transgressive sadomasochist staging.

He will be one of the rare photographers, including Richard Avedon and Peter Lindbergh to shoot the famous Pirelli calendar twice (1970 and 1971), taking his models to tropical climes to further enhance their beauty. The name Francis Giacobetti is then associated with two other French talents of the same generation, also creating a revolution in their art: Jean-Loup Sieff and Guy Bourdin.

In increasing demand by the greatest magazines, Francis Giacobetti indefatigably shoots across the globe. His most fabulous collaboration is undoubtedly that with Issey Miyake. Succeeding Irvin Penn, he becomes the official photographer for the couturier for more than 20 years. Jean-Paul Goude admits : « There is a Giacobetti woman. She is tanned, covered in sand, on a beach, photographed with men in mind, like a golden goddess. She could be a Duchesse or a baker’s girl. We don’t know. A woman is a woman. Her femininity is highlighted; her beauty is taken out of all other context. »

Between 1980 and 2000, Francis Giacobetti develops a new universe. Still using the female body as a canvas, he begins the Zebra series. In these black and white photos, zebra stripes are projected on diaphanous bodies, alternating shadow and light, deformed by anatomical curves, creating an infinity of motifs. They carry an estimate of 4 000 – 6 000 € / 4 400 – 6 600 $.

At the same time, he travels around the world creating a gallery of portraits immortalising 170 talented men and women of the 20th and 21st centuries. Each time, the same technique is used; First he creates a traditional black and white portrait, then using an ophthalmologic camera of his own creation, he photographs his model’s pupil. A unique window into the soul. Francis Bacon, the Dalaï Lama, César, Fidel Castro and Luciano Pavarotti will take part in the project. Several of these diptychs will be included in the auction (estimate: 4 000 – 6 000 € / 4 400 – 6 600 $).

The biographical event of one of the greatest French photographers…
For the first time ever, Francis Giacobetti reveals himself and his life story to Edition First. If the artist is not immediately recognised, one of his photos is known by everyone. It was shot for the poster of a Just Jaeckin film, now a cult movie…It represents a topless woman seated on a wicker chair, her pearl neckless clenched between her teeth… Above her, the film title: Emmanuelle.

In his memoirs, he looks back on his incredible life with disarming sincerity. How a young man became a photographer of international notoriety, living out of aeroplanes, jetting off to snap the most beautiful women in the world. Of the mad adventure of the magazine Lui, behind the scenes of the fashion world between Paris, New York and Los Angeles, his unwavering friendship with Issey Miyake to unforgettable moments spent with Salvador Dali, the sculptor Caesar and painter Francis Bacon, his love story with Carole Bouquet to his family relationships, Francis Giacobetti describes in his own words the iconoclastic portrait of three decades of mayhem where he rubbed shoulders with the most talented artists of our time.

The inventor of Glamour photography’s most beautiful shots
Similarly, if Assouline brought together 200 of Francis Giacobetti’s most beautiful images in an art book, it is not only because he reinvented nude photography, but also the entire artistic process of image production, in video and photography. He was the main photographer of the monthly magazine Lui, since its creation. In the same way as the publication is said to have brought the myth of the pin-up onto the Parisian scene, Giacobetti is today recognised for having brought a touch of elegance to nude photography. This was achieved by projecting imagination and desire into the photos, as seen in some of the best years of Pirelli calendars and his portraiture of some of the most famous artists, actors and models in the world.

The unorthodox and self-taught technical approach to shadow and light granted him numerous covers and formats, introducing the name of Giacobetti to the pantheon of photographers. Famous for their fine line between photography and painting, between art and craft, Francis Giacobetti’s series (Zébras, Iris, Hymn, his portraits of Bacon) and his procedures, confused the masters of the art and for the most part, express all the beauty of the human body.






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