He may not be as famous as Patrick Demarchelier, Peter Lindbergh or Cecil Beaton, but Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann (1906-1999), better known as Horst P. Horst, is one of the biggest names in fashion photography of the 20th century.
Horst at a photography session.
To do him justice, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London held an exhibition of his work in 2014. The collection also exhibited at the McCord Museum in Montreal, Canada, has now come to Rotterdam, Netherlands—namely to the Nederlands Fotomuseum—where it will be on view until January 10, 2016.
The display offers a selection of his best fashion photographs, including some vintage images that have rarely been exhibited, as well as 25 color photographs printed for the first time in large format. It will also include sketches, personal notes and a video showing the photographer working in his studio.
At the Nederlands Fotomuseum visitors will have the opportunity to admire Horst’s most famous photograph: the beautiful Corset for Mainbocher, which shows a woman wearing a back corset. This work was a milestone in the artist’s career because it was his last photograph in Paris before moving to New York at the threat of World War II. Corset for Mainbocher is the photograph that inspired the singer Madonna for the video of the song “Vogue”.
1. Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1942.
2. American Vogue Summer Fashion Cover, 1941.
3. Muriel Maxwell, Vogue Magazine, 1939.
4. Dress by Hattie Carnegie, 1939.
Horst started working in Paris, where he arrived in the 1930s from his native Germany. In the fashion capital, he collaborated with Vogue magazine, where he created dozens of articles and more than 90 color covers. During that time, he developed a love for fashion, art, dance, theater and design. He befriended the celebrated designers of the time, such as Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli.
In addition to his work in the fashion world, Horst made beautiful portraits of celebrities. His camera captured images of the great Spanish painter Salvador Dali, high-society families such as the Vanderbilts; the most acclaimed fashion models and stars of the golden age of Hollywood, like Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Vivien Leigh and Joan Crawford.
The artist also traveled to the Middle East between the late 1940s and early 50s, taking pictures that reveal his fascination with ancient cultures, landscapes, nature and architecture.
According to a spokesman for the Victoria & Albert Museum, the exhibition at the Nederlands Fotomuseum also explores “his lesser known work, related to his creative processes, his influence, and his legacy as one of the great photographers.” ■