Though Horst P. Horst’s works would go on to become icons of fashion photography - lauded the world over – for the man born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann, life began far away from the hyper-exclusive world that he came to know so well. Hailing from the German town of Weißenfels-an-der-Saale, Horst’s lifelong dedication to visual innovation was said to have been ignited by a meeting with dancer Evan Wiedemann at a party thrown at his aunt’s house. From that chance encounter followed a lifelong career dedicated to aesthetic pursuits.
For us, the beauty of Horst’s catalogue is not only its rich dynamism, but also the traceable evolution of history (Horst’s career spanned the best part of a century) which can been seen in each work. Aside from the obvious markers of the passage of time (the muses, movie stars and models) for fans of fashion, the retrospective is an indispensable record of the transformation of fashion which occurred across the 20th Century. In the exhibition you’ll see works from both the Parisian pre-war era where the most opulent haute couture was order of the day through to the blossoming of ready-to-wear of post-war New York.
And, though Horst was indisputably best-known for his fashion photography (his work appeared on over 90 Vogue covers) the exhibition also displays a variety of avant-garde works referencing everything from ancient Classical art to Bauhaus ideals of modern design and Surrealism – some of which was produced in collaboration with that master of the art form Salvador Dali himself.
No matter the subject, as the exhibition attests, Horst’s works are as piercingly evocative now as they were on their creation and fittingly celebrate the vitality of a life behind the lens.