Helmut Newton 100
06 March to 30 August 2020
‘Helmut Newton 100’, features a hundred works, including images taken during a thirty year period from 1970, celebrating this iconic photographer of the twentieth century.
For its inaugural show, Newlands House has staged an exhibition of 100 original photographs by Helmut Newton (1920-2004), including a number of significant masterpieces and rare prints, such as the unique print polaroid, Big Nude III (Henrietta variant), 1980 which has never before been publicly displayed in the UK. This solo exhibition is the first of a series of retrospectives planned this year to commemorate 100 years of Helmut Newton’s birth, which will culminate at the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin on 31st October 2020, exactly 100 years since the artist’s birth. Other works on show will include Shoe, Monte Carlo,1983 and Elsa Peretti, Bunny, New York, 1975.
‘Along with Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton is the artist who has arguably had the greatest impact on today’s visual culture. As a young man, I was more stimulated looking at fashion magazines than at art magazines. Every time I was struck by the power of an image, I would check the name of the photographer and it was either Helmut Newton or Guy Bourdin. Over the years my fascination for their work never waned, quite the contrary.
Many years later I was looking for a pretext to get to know Helmut. I had started a series of lectures at Sotheby’s inviting creative geniuses such as Karl Kagerfeld, Jeff Koons or Philippe Starck and I was adamant that Helmut had to be part of that series. The initial contact by phone was not exactly easy, but led to an invitation of visiting him and his wife June in Monte-Carlo. June’s own work as Alice Springs could not be more different from Helmut’s but is equally strong. Together they formed one of the 20th century’s legendary couples. It is with trepidation that I rang their door bell. The minute I met them, I fell in love with them after having been in love with their work for a long time. This led to a wonderful friendship. One day when Helmut Newton and I were walking on the quays of Geneva, he asked me if I would be prepared to represent him. While I had until then never sold a single photograph, except at auction, I instantly agreed and we shook hands there on the street. We decided from that moment onwards that no image of his would have an edition larger than three and that each photograph would only exist in one size. Together with my then partners Andrea Caratsch and Daniella Luxembourg we staged exhibitions such as ‘Sex and Landscapes’ and ‘Yellow Press’.
During ArtBasel, my friend Benedikt Taschen launched the XXL size book known as Sumo on Helmut Newton, with a stand designed for it by Philippe Starck. We jointly gave a dinner in honour of Helmut at Atlantis, a night club in Basel. There were mob scenes and Helmut was feted like the rock star that he was. There were endless photographers and paparazzi trying to get a snapshot of the mythical photographer. I had the privilege of later auctioning copy number one of the Helmut Newton Sumo. It had been signed by every person featured in the book and it became the most expensive book published in the 20th century.
The hundred images selected for this exhibition open a window into the world of an artist whose work has not aged in any way and whose genius remains timeless. At the time of the #metoo movement his images of strong, empowered and self-confident women are more poignant than ever.