An Exhibition From Fashion’s Foremost Provocateur Helmut Newton Opens in Spain

Legendary German fashion photographer Helmut Newton is the subject of a new exhibition in Spain, hosted by the Marta Ortega Pérez Foundation (MOP). The foundation was established by, and named after, the chair of the Inditex fashion group, which owns Zara, Massimo Dutti, Berksha and more. “Helmut Newton—Fact & Fiction” is on view in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, through May 1, 2024. 

The show is hosted by the MOP in close collaboration with the Helmut Newton Foundation. A trio of curators organized the show: British auction house veteran Philippe Garner; Matthias Harder, who is the Helmut Newton Foundation’s curator; and Tim Jefferies, owner of U.K. photography gallery Hamiltons. 

The exhibition takes place at the foundation’s exhibition venue, the industrial Muelle de Batería in the Galician port city. “We immediately agreed that Helmut would have loved the repurposed silos and warehouse that constitute the exhibition venue, the working-harbour context, and the characterful vernacular architecture of the city,” said the curators. “We have enjoyed speculating on the images he might have conceived in these settings.” 

Helmut Newton exhibition

Helmut Newton, Elsa Peretti as a Bunny, (1975). © Helmut Newton Foundation.

One of history’s most prolific and influential fashion photographers, Newton appears in the exhibition not only in some of his iconic works but also in videos showing him at work and in conversation. Also on view are some of his cameras, props and memorabilia. Finally, there are images of his personal life, including his partnership with his wife, actress June Brunell. The couple married the year after she posed for him in 1947. A photographer in her own right, she created work under the pseudonym April Springs. 

In addition to his renowned “Big Nudes,” the show spans a selection of Newton’s portraits of figures like David Bowie, Naomi Campbell, Daryl Hannah and Andy Warhol. It also includes his lesser-known “landscapes”, images of cities that were important for the photographer. These include world capitals like Paris and Los Angeles. Newton began his career shooting for fashion magazines like British and French Vogue in the 1950s, became renowned in the 70s for his portraits in the latter magazine, and has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions.

Helmut Newton exhibition

Helmut Newton, Monica Bellucci, (2001). © Helmut Newton Foundation

“Helmut Newton is one of that celestial band of photographers whose images are instantly recognizable as their own,” said Ortega Pérez in a press announcement. “Newton’s own great revolutionary act was to utterly change the ways in which women were portrayed in the pages of glossy magazines. Here were women who enjoyed style and fashion, who enjoyed the power and splendour of their bodies, women who were elegantly seductive and untouchable. His photographs were not only of his time but far ahead of his time—he spectacularly set the scene for those photographers who followed him.”

In attendance at a starry opening event on November 15 were figures such as famed actress Charlotte Rampling (who also appears as Venus in Furs in a photo in the exhibition), Duran Duran frontman Simon Le Bon, art director and magazine editor Fabien Baron, Polish model and actress Małgosia Bela, and photographer Nikolai von Bismarck.

Helmut Newton, Italian Vogue, (2003). © Helmut Newton Foundation.

Helmut Newton, Charlotte Rampling as Venus in Furs, (1977). © Helmut Newton Foundation.

Helmut Newton, Bordighera Details, Italian Vogue, (1982). © Helmut Newton Foundation.

“Helmut Newton—Fact & Fiction” is on view in A Coruña, Galicia, Spain, through May 1, 2024. 

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