Helmut Newton: Legacy

31.10.2021 to 15.05.2022
Museum für Fotografie

31 October 2021 marks the opening of the expansive retrospective exhibition “Helmut Newton. Legacy“ at the Helmut Newton Foundation at the Museum für Fotografie in Berlin.Originally scheduled to coincide with the photographer’s 100th birthday, it was postponed for a year due to the pandemic. Visitors can now look forward to seeing not only Helmut Newton’s many iconic images, but also a number of suprises. 

The entire exhibition space on the first floor of the museum will chronologically trace the life and visual legacy of the Berlin-born photographer. With around 300 works, half of which are being shown for the first time, the foundation’s curator Matthias Harder will present lesser-known aspects of Newton’s oeuvre, including many of his more unconventional fashion photographs, which span the decades and reflect the changing spirit of the times. The presentation will be complemented by Polaroids and contact sheets that give insight into the creation process of some of the iconic motifs featured, as well as special publications, archival material, and statements by the photographer. 

It was in the 1960s that Newton found his inimitable style in Paris, as seen in his photographs of the revolutionary fashion designed by André Courrèges. Working for well-known fashion magazines, Newton not only took classic studio shots but also ventured into the streets, where he staged models as participants in a protest, protagonists in a paparazzi story, and more. His clients’ sometimes stringent requirements and narrow expectations were an incentive for him to challenge traditional modes of representation. 

In the 1970s, Newton began to enjoy unlimited creative possibilities while shooting on location – whether by helicopter on the beach in Hawaii or in a Parisian hourly hotel, where he included himself in a lingerie campaign through strategically placed mirrors. Repeatedly testing social and moral boundaries, sometimes he even redefined them. Until the end of his life he continued to both disturb and enchant people with his visions and visualizations of fashion and femininity. No other photographer has likely been published more often than Helmut Newton, and many of his iconic images have become part of our collective visual memory. Now, following intensive research in the foundation’s archives, forgotten and surprising photographs are coming to light. 

For the duration of the retrospective, June’s Room will host a special exhibition on the work of June Newton aka Alice Springs – in memory of the foundation’s president, who passed away in Monte Carlo in April 2021 and has since been laid to rest next to her husband in Berlin. 

To accompany the exhibition “Helmut Newton. Legacy“, an extensive catalogue under the same title has been published by TASCHEN, edited by Matthias Harder: Hardcover, 24 x 34 cm, 424 pages, ISBN 978-3-8365-8458-6.

A special exhibition of the Helmut Newton Foundation at the Museum für Fotografie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin.

Helmut Newton Stiftung

Jebensstraße 2
10623 Berlin

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Website of the Helmut Newton Foundation