HELMUT NEWTON. LEGACY Show to Open in Berlin

The Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin will launch the major retrospective exhibition, HELMUT NEWTON. LEGACY, on 31st October 2021. 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 surprises. (Image top of page – Helmut Newton, Fashion, Melbourne, 1955, © Helmut Newton Estate, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation)

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 quotations from the photographer.

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Helmut Newton, Carla Bruni, Blumarine, Nice 1993,
© Helmut Newton Estate, Courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation


It was in the 1960s that Newton found his inimitable style in Paris, as seen in his photographs of the revolutionary fashion by André Courrèges. Working for well-known fashion magazines, he not only took classic studio shots but ventured into the streets, staging models as participants in a protest, protagonists in a paparazzi story, and more. His clients’ sometimes strict requirements and narrow expectations served as 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.

Helmut Newton, In a Hôtel de Passe, Self-Portrait with Model, Paris 1971, © Helmut Newton Estate, courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation


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.

An extensive catalogue will be published by TASCHEN to accompany the exhibition HELMUT NEWTON. LEGACY.

Once the museum reopens in late May 2021, the Helmut Newton Foundation will present the current exhibition America 1970s/80s with works by Evelyn Hofer, Sheila Metzner, Joel Meyerowitz, and Helmut Newton until 10 October 2021.


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