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June 17–November 13, 2022
Helmut Newton photographed the French Riviera to Bordighera, Italy, from the 1960s until his death in the early 2000s, and the exhibition’s title clearly denotes this geography. Newton, Riviera is a pretext for a fresh look at the work of one of the twentieth century’s most influential photographers, through a fascinating collection of photos, some of which have become famous, and others which have never been seen before.
“I love the sunshine. We don’t see it in Paris any more.” Helmut Newton allegedly spoke these words to the Monegasque official in charge of processing his documents. 1981 was the year. Newton was 61 years old and had established himself as one of the greatest fashion photographers of his generation thanks to a series of bold series that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable.
His relocation to Monaco, however, was not meant to be a retirement. Quite the reverse, in fact. Between 1981 and 2004 (the year of his death), he produced some of his most productive and unquestionably most uninhibited work of his whole career. Monaco provided an unusual backdrop for Newton’s fashion photographs. He staged multiple fashion editorials in his apartment’s garage and used the city’s construction sites as settings for luxury fashion label advertisements.
It was also here that he produced a large number of portraits of “beautiful people,” some of whom had settled in Monaco and others who were just passing through. Portraits of the stars of the Ballet de Monte-Carlo and the Princely Family are among his works from this period. Newton finally tried his hand at landscape photography in Monaco, a field he had never dabbled in before. He also created “Yellow Press,” one of his most personal series, which features bizarre, unsettlingly glamorous photographs based on murder scenes.
While Newton, Riviera is mostly about this time period, it also looks at Newton’s historical ties to the Riviera. We see a dazzling Newton’s sardonic yet captivated depiction of a way of life marked by ease and elegance, a world controlled by appearance and superficiality, through 280 images. He was both a player on the stage and a fortunate member of the audience in this living theatre.
Newton, Riviera will result in a catalog co-edited by the NMNM with Gallimard reproducing all the photographs exhibited and numerous texts and interviews signed by the curators of the exhibition, Matthias Harder and Guillaume de Sardes, as well as : Ivan Barlafante (visual artist), Alain Fleisher (filmmaker, photographer and writer), Simone Klein (consultant and photography specialist), Jean-Christophe Maillot (choreographer-director of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo), Charles de Meaux (visual artist and director), Edouard Mérino (collector and founder of the Air de Paris art gallery), Catherine Millet (art critic and writer), Jean-Luc Monterosso (founder and director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie), Paloma Picasso (fashion designer) and Philippe Serieys (former assistant to Helmut Newton).
Curators: Guillaume de Sardes & Matthias Harder
Exhibition presented in collaboration with the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin.
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