Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, USA, May 27-August 13, 2021
In 1981, Staley-Wise Gallery opened with an exhibition of Horst P. Horst photographs and with the intention of celebrating fashion photography, a genre that until then was only seen in magazines and advertisements. The exhibition marked a new appreciation of fashion photography as an art form. In this new exhibition we revisit and expand the inaugural exhibition “Horst: Shadow and Light” and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Staley-Wise Gallery.
Horst was born in 1906 into a conventional German family. He soon left for Paris and an apprenticeship with the great architect Le Corbusier. Horst then met the gifted photographer Baron George Hoyningen-Huene and became his lover and lifelong friend. Hoyningen-Huene was the son of a Russian nobleman and his social sphere included artists Man Ray, Salvador Dali, Lee Miller, Pablo Picasso, and Jean Cocteau. He inspired Horst to begin taking his own photographs and became his mentor, opening the doors to Horst's career in photography and a life spent among the artistic and social achievers of Paris and New York.
Hoyningen-Huene began photographing for Condé Nast publications in 1926, followed by Horst in 1932. Horst lived between Paris and New York until the outbreak of World War II, during which he served in the United States Army. In 1935, Hoyningen-Huene left Condé Nast and was invited to Hollywood by film director George Cukor to photograph many of the twentieth century’s great movie stars and collaborate as a color consultant on several of Cukor’s films. In the meantime, Horst continued his career at Condé Nast, working with famed editors such as Alexander Liberman and Diana Vreeland, and for over 60 years he photographed fashion, interiors, and every artistic, political, and social figure of note. A master of light and shadow, Horst’s love of classical architecture, sculpture, and surrealism figure prominently in much of his work. Nudes, interiors, flowers, landscape and still life all reflect his mastery of line and form and his dramatic lighting, elegance, and imaginative settings changed the look of portrait and fashion photography.
Horst’s work has been the subject of numerous articles, books, exhibitions, and documentary films. A Horst retrospective was mounted in 2014 at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and has traveled extensively. Both Horst’s and Hoyningen-Huene's work has been exhibited at and is included in the permanent collections of institutions including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the International Center of Photography and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.