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American & European Works of Art (Bonhams Skinner)
Horst P. Horst (1906-1999)
Platinum palladium print; with photographer's dry stamp in the margin, titled, dated, annotated, and signed 'Horst' in pencil on the verso.
18 7/8 x 13 3/8 in. (48.0 x 34.0 cm)
sheet 23 7/8 x 20 1/8 in. (60.7 x 51.2 cm)
Richard J. Tardiff and Lothar Schirmer eds., Horst, New York, Rizzoli International Publications Inc., 1991, fig. 49.
Susanna Brown, Horst: Photographer of Style, New York, Skira Rizzoli Publications, Inc., 2014, fig. 34.
Horst P. Horst was a giant in the world of 20th-century fashion photography. He is best known for the works he created for Condé Nast over a span of sixty years that are a master study in light, composition, and illusion. Horst began his career in photography working as an assistant to George Hoyningen-Huene, who was a pioneer in the early days of the genre. Modeling for many of Hoyningen-Huene's photographs, Horst quickly became his assistant, mentee, and lover.
Elegance was a trademark of Hoyningen-Huene's photographs and Horst continued to seek it out in his work. On the subject, Horst has stated, "For some people, the word elegance has acquired objectionable, snobbish connotations, but I myself prefer to regard elegance as an attractive and admirable human attribute, a form of physical and mental grace."
Clear and simple lines with perfect lighting were distinct characteristics of Horst's style. Adapting his mentor's classical traditions, Horst blended them with avant-garde techniques using props that incorporated Surrealist elements. Hands, Hands... from 1941 is an example where at first glance the cascading hands are a sensual study in light and form. Peeling back the trompe l'oeil on closer inspection reveals the unsettling illusionistic arrangement that the mannequin hands create.
All the Horst prints on offer are in platinum and palladium, a process that accentuates the lush and sensual tonalities that Horst aspired for in his photographs.