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Howard Schatz,  Masters of Art-Masters of Fashion: Georges Seurat and Yoji Yamamoto for Comme Des Garçons, 1997

Howard Schatz

Masters of Art, Masters of Fashion: Georges Seurat and Yohji Yamamoto, 1997

 

Howard Schatz seamlessly incorporates three models (in panniered Comme Des Garçons dresses) in to Seurat’s best known painting. With the cooperation of The Art Institute of Chicago, Schatz utilized a high-resolution scan of the original artwork and painstakingly photographed each model separately under special lighting, mimicking the expressive shadows shown in the original painting and Seurat’s famed “Pointillism” technique. By allowing the faces and expressions of his models to be more visible than the rest of the painting’s figures, Schatz disrupts and highlights the sense of isolation present in Seurat’s masterpiece (click here).

 

#howardschatz #schatz #georgesseurat #seurat #yohjiyamamoto #pointillism #fashion

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Looking at Matisse (Dance I), Museum of Modern Art, ca. 1940

Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Looking at Matisse (Dance I), Museum of Modern Art, New York, ca. 1940

 

Louise Dahl-Wolfe’s photograph of models admiring Henri Matisse’s Dance I, 1909 (click here) was taken at the Museum of Modern Art, which had just opened at its new home on 53rd Street in New York in 1939.  The painting was given to the museum by Nelson A. Rockefeller in honor of the Museum’s first director, Alfred H. Barr Jr.

 

Coincidentally, Matisse used Dance I in the background of his own 1912 painting Nasturtiums with Painting “Dance I” (click here).

Rodney Smith, Odalisque No. 1, Winfield Estate, Long Island, New York, 2004

Rodney Smith

Odalisque No. 1, Winfield Estate, Long Island, New York, 2004

 

Smith’s meticulous homage to Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres famous 1814 painting Le Grande Odalisque (click here) celebrates the naked form and also highlights the anatomical inaccuracies depicted in Ingres’ work. The distortion and elongation of the model’s body and arm in the painting were harshly criticized when it debuted and Ingres’ priority of sensuality over accuracy is one of the reasons this artwork is often mentioned in discussions about the depiction of femininity and female nudity in art.

Bert Stern, Twiggy in front of a Bridget Riley painting, 1967

Bert Stern

Twiggy in front of a Bridget Riley painting, 1967

 

The combination of Bert Stern, the iconic model Twiggy, and Bridget Riley’s painting Amnesia, 1964 (click here) distills the 1960’s Op-Art craze. Riley’s paintings were blatantly copied and printed on garments by fashion designers. Art historians would later argue that Riley’s association with a high-street psychedelic and “groovy” aesthetic undermined the skill and intelligence of her work. Riley herself said “It will take at least 20 years before anyone looks at my paintings seriously again”.

 

Since then, Riley’s work has been critically reassessed and she is exhibited worldwide.

 

 

Arthur Elgort, Keke Lindgard, Vogue España, 2010

Arthur Elgort

Keke Lindgard, Vogue España, 2010

 

Elgort photographed Lindgard at the Soniat House Hotel in New Orleans in front of the 1892 painting Pagliacci by the French artist Leon Henri Antoine Loire. The painting, which was then on loan to the hotel from the collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art, likely refers to the story of Il Pagliaccio (The Clown), about a jealous comedic actor enacting revenge on his wife and her lover. The story was later adapted in to a tragicomic opera Pagliacci by Ruggero Leoncavallo (click here) and is still performed today.

Horst, Goya Fashion: Mrs. Stanley Mortimer, Jr. and Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald in Balenciaga hats, 1940

Horst P. Horst

Goya Fashion: Mrs. Stanley Mortimer, Jr. and Mrs. Desmond Fitzgerald in Balenciaga hats, 1940

 

Although credited by their married names at the time of publication, both subjects would re-marry and became better known as Babe Paley, the stylish socialite and “swan” of Truman Capote, and Marietta Peabody Tree, a United States Representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and mother of historian Frances FitzGerald and model Penelope Tree.

 

Horst posed them both in Spanish couturier Balenciaga’s reinterpretation of the “montera” hats commonly worn by bullfighters, along with an enlarged reproduction of Francisco Goya’s Otra locura suya en la misma plaza (Another Madness of his in the Same Ring) (click here). This etching was part of a series of 33 works called La Tauromaquia (The Art of Bullfighting) produced between 1746 and 1828 and has been understood as a satire directed against what Enlightenment thinkers saw as a barbaric form of entertainment.

Deborah Turbeville, Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1981

Deborah Turbeville

Radio City Music Hall, New York City, 1981

 

Turbeville’s reclining nude mimics the slinking panther in Henry Billings' mural, which is installed in the women’s powder room on the third floor of Radio City Music Hall (click here) in New York. Billings’ work often combined nature and machinery in surreal forms and he was commissioned by the New York state government to create several mid-20th century works for other public environments.

David LaChapelle, Rebirth of Venus, 2009

David LaChapelle

Rebirth of Venus, 2009

 

Sandro Botticelli’s iconic painting The Birth of Venus (click here) was created in the late 15th century and depicts the mythological origin of the goddess Aphrodite (known also as Venus, the goddess of love and sex), who was born an adult woman from sea foam. Although this myth was very popular with artists beginning in the 16th century, Botticelli’s painting, which was likely commissioned by the powerful Medici family of Florence, remains the most famous depiction.

 

David LaChapelle celebrates the more pagan interpretations of the painting with his suggestive use of the seashell and inclusion of the symbolic goat and crown (along with a more contemporary nod to Nike, the goddess of victory).

Howard Schatz, Masters of Art, Masters of Fashion: Sandro Botticelli and Todd Oldham,1996

Howard Schatz

Masters of Art, Masters of Fashion: Sandro Botticelli and Todd Oldham,1996

 

Sandro Botticelli’s iconic painting The Birth of Venus (click here) was created in the late 15th century and depicts the mythological origin of the goddess Aphrodite (known also as Venus, the goddess of love and sex), who was born an adult woman from sea foam. Although this myth was very popular with artists beginning in the 16th century, Botticelli’s painting, which was likely commissioned by the powerful Medici family of Florence, remains the most famous depiction.

 

Howard Schatz marries the original painting and a newly-cast (and attired) Venus. Todd Oldham’s embroided coat mirrors the patterned cloak offered to Venus and highlights the blush roses in the painting.  Roses were said to be created when Aphrodite’s tears mingled with her lover Adonis’s blood when he was injured.

 

David LaChapelle, Fish Stick: Devon Aoki in Agent Provocateur, London, 1998

David LaChapelle

Fish Stick: Devon Aoki in Agent Provocateur, London, 1998

Genevieve Naylor, Jean Patchett in a Netti Rosenstein dress in Raymond Loewy’s apartment, New York, 1950

Genevieve Naylor

Jean Patchett in a Netti Rosenstein dress in Raymond Loewy’s apartment, New York, 1950
 

Genevieve Naylor was a fashion photographer, photojournalist, and the personal photographer of Eleanor Roosevelt. She was the second female photographer to be given a one-woman exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1943.

 

Raymond Loewy was a celebrated French-American industrial designer who achieved fame for designing the logos for Shell, Exxon, TWA, and BP, the bottle design for Coca-Cola, the packaging for Lucky Strike cigarettes, the Studebaker Avanti and Champion vehicles, and for his contributions to the interiors of NASA spacecraft, among others.

 

Naylor (whose husband was painter Misha Reznikoff), framed Patchett’s face carefully against Loewy’s art collection, which includes Joan Miró’s 1942 gouache Figure devant le soleil (Figure in Front of the Sun) (click here) just behind Patchett’s left shoulder.

Abe Frajndlich, Minami Picasso, 2010/2020

Abe Frajndlich

Minami Picasso, 2010/2020

 

Frajndlich met the performance artist Minami Azu as she was performing Japanese butoh dance at a subway station in downtown New York. Butoh dance is typically performed in white body makeup and usually includes hyper-controlled gestures and grotesque and absurd imagery and environments. Despite their language barrier, Azu and Frajndlich began a long and productive collaboration and travelled through New York, Italy, and Japan together. Frajndlich, well-known for his photographs of artists, documented Azu’s instinctive interactions with varying environments and often incorporated Azu’s theatrical persona in to works of art, such as Picasso’s portrait of Dora Maar (click here) – herself once a muse to an artist.

Kali, Untitled (Woman), Palm Springs, CA, 1972

Kali

Untitled (Woman), Palm Springs, CA, 1972

 

“Kali” was born Joan Marie Archibald in 1932 in Long Island, New York.  Her beloved stepfather encouraged Kali’s interest and education in art.  Because of Kali’s faith, she was particularly interested in the Italian masters and travelled extensively throughout Europe as a young student.

 

Kali was a divorced mother by age 30 when she left her home and family for California - and her new identity as “Kali”.  No one quite knows when and how her artistic practice developed, but she began taking photographs, developed the prints in her home darkroom, used dyes and organic materials in her swimming pool to layer color abstractions over the prints, and then dried them in the sun.  

 

The work of Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Filipo Lippi (click here) was adapted in many of Kali’s artworks – rendering these classical images through her own artistic eye.

Melvin Sokolsky, Shrimp Da Vinci (Jean Shrimpton), New York, 1966

Melvin Sokolsky

Shrimp Da Vinci (Jean Shrimpton), New York, 1966

 

Ancient thinkers invested the square and circle shapes with symbolic powers. Circular shapes were linked to the “cosmic and divine” and square shapes represented “the earth”. Da Vinci’s famous drawing L’Uomo vitruviano (Vitruvian Man) (click here) shows how humans fit in to both ideals and proposed the ideal proportions of the human male body.


Sokolsky, known for his curiosity and his experimental photography, pays homage to Da Vinci but also reveals that his proposal was unrealistic, especially when applied to the female body – even that of 1960’s supermodel Jean Shrimpton.

Genevieve Naylor, Model in Alexander Calder’s Studio, 1948

Genevieve Naylor

Model in Alexander Calder’s Studio, 1948

Len Prince, Jessie Mann as Frida Kahlo (Plate 67), Virginia, 2004

Len Prince

Jessie Mann as Frida Kahlo (Plate 67), Virginia, 2004

 

Len Prince and Jessie Mann embarked on a collaboration in which Mann assumed a range of guises that draw on historical persons and iconic images. Mann, the daughter and frequent subject for her mother, Sally Mann, felt compelled to explore the creative possibilities of self-fictionalization and she became the perfect muse for Prince, whose portraits of celebrities often reference “Old Hollywood” glamour and the power of transformation.

 

While recovering from the bus accident that left her bedridden for months, Frida Kahlo would paint portraits of herself using a mirror that was attached to her canopy bed. "Frida lived surrounded by mirrors," said Lola Alverez Bravo, a Mexican photographer who documented Kahlo throughout her life. Kahlo had a mirror on the front of her wardrobe, next to her dressing table, and even on the wall of her outdoor patio. 

 

"I paint myself because I am often alone, and I am the subject I know best."

- Frida Kahlo
 

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Model Shelly Napier in Schiaparelli with Brancusi Sculptures, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939

Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Model Shelly Napier in Schiaparelli with Brancusi Sculptures, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1939

 

This photograph was likely taken during the Museum of Modern Art’s 10th Anniversary Exhibition, which also celebrated the museum’s new home at 11 West 53rd Street.  Pictured with the model are “Bird in Space, 1928” and “The Miracle, 1932” by Constantin BrâncuČ™i as they were installed in the exhibition (see here).

Patrick Demarchelier, Mats Gustafson and Linda Evangelista in Christian Lacroix, Harper’s Bazaar, 1995

Patrick Demarchelier

Mats Gustafson (illustrator) and Linda Evangelista, Harper’s Bazaar, 1995

 

“Linda has slanted, almond-shaped eyes, extremely beautiful nostrils that tilt another way, and a mouth that angled in a third direction – femininity combined with strength, womanliness mixed with girlishness. I think this why we all respond so much to Linda – we read into her face all those received charismatic images. With these images and all the preexisting pictures of Linda in the back of my mind, I found it easy to distill her features to a very simple form.”

 

-Mats Gustafson (as told to Amy Fine Collins while drawing Linda Evangelista), 1995

 

Click here to learn more about the Harper's Bazaar photoshoot.

François Halard, Bust with ties, Paris, 1989

François Halard

Bust with ties, Paris, 1989

Sheila Metzner, Letitia, 1985

Sheila Metzner

Letitia, 1985

 

“My kids went to Steiner School, on 79th, between 5th and Madison. We often visited the galleries. I borrowed furniture, vases, and paintings from the dealers for my pictures – they all trusted me. We were considered friends. It was as simple as taking the Jean Arp sculpture (click here) in a cab, and returning it after the shoot. 

 

All of these objects in my photographs would cost a fortune to rent now! Same with locations. Those were the best of times! Amazing objects to document and learn from.”

 

-Sheila Metzner

Sheila Metzner, The Kiss. Fendi. 1986

Sheila Metzner

The Passion of Rome: Fendi, 1986

 

“We were shooting in Rome for a new Fendi fragrance.  Fendi had arranged paperwork to permit us to shoot in a museum garden. However, when we arrived the guard denied our permit, claiming that the garden was an “interior” (as it was behind the entrance gate) and that we were only allowed to shoot in the parking lot.

 

We decided to meet at Alda Fendi’s home to make an alternate plan. When we arrived, we were greeted by Alda. In the vestibule of the entrance on a table sat the incredible ancient marble bust.  Our model, Marie Sophie, walked over to it and gently kissed his cheek.  We proceeded with, hair, make-up, and wardrobe, and that became our ‘Passion of Rome’ for Fendi.”

 

-Sheila Metzner

Stephanie Pfriender-Stylander, Bernini: Caroline Benezet, Borghese Gallery, Rome, Condé Nast Traveler, 1998

Stephanie Pfriender-Stylander

Bernini: Caroline Benezet, Borghese Gallery, Rome, Condé Nast Traveler, 1998

 

The Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini was only 23 years old when he was was commissioned by Cardinal Scipione Borghese to create Ratto di Proserpina (Rape of Proserpina), 1621-1622 (click here).

 

According to Roman mythology, Proserpina was the daughter of Ceres, the goddess of fertility, and Jupiter, the patron sky and thunder. Pluto, the underworld god of the dead, saw her and fell madly in love with her and abducted her in to the underworld. A devastated Ceres allowed all of the land to dry up. Once Jupiter saw the barren earth, he struck a deal with Pluto: Proserpina would spend half a year with Pluto, during which a devastated Ceres takes her gifts from the world (winter) and half a year with Ceres, during which a happier Ceres allows the earth to grow again (spring).

 

This sculpture was later reinterpreted in 2010 by Jeff Koons in stainless steel with live flowering plants.

 

David LaChapelle, David and Amanda, 2001

David LaChapelle

David and Amanda, New York, 2001

 

Amanda Lepore’s birth name was Armand Lepore.  In the early 1980’s, three decades before transgender rights became a social issue, she began her devotion to the plastic surgery that would transform her in to a downtown New York icon and frequent muse to photographer David LaChapelle.

 

Filmmaker Joel Schumacher has called Lepore a “moving sculpture”, a fitting yet ironic counterpart to David (click here), Michelangelo’s tribute to heroic masculinity.

Patrick Demarchelier, Christian Dior Haute Couture (Spring/Summer 2011), Musee Rodin, Paris, 2011

Patrick Demarchelier

Christian Dior Haute Couture (Spring/Summer 2011), Musée Rodin, Paris, 2011

 

Demarchelier’s model poses behind glass among the masterpieces in “The Marble Gallery” of the Musée Rodin.  The Spring/Summer 2011 Dior Haute Couture collection was shown on the grounds of the museum itself and the collection was inspired by the work of illustrator René Gruau. Demarchelier’s surreal use of foreground, background, and reflections enhances the staged presentation in the museum setting and advocates that fashion – at this level – is indeed art.

Harry Benson  Julian Schnabel in his studio, Palazzo Chupi, New York, 2011

Harry Benson

Julian Schnabel in his studio, Palazzo Chupi, New York, 2011

 

Harry Benson photographed artist Julian Schnabel at his famed home and studio Palazzo Chupi in the West Village for his book New York, New York (published in 2014).  As Benson noted, “his environment was as unique as the artist was himself”.  Works shown here include Untitled, Shiva (2011) (click here), and Jane Birkin #2 (1990) (click here), which is shaped like sails that the artist encountered during his travels in Egypt and is in fact painted on sailcloth that Schnabel acquired from the sailors.

Harry Benson  Julian Schnabel at home, Palazzo Chupi, New York, 2011

Harry Benson

Julian Schnabel at home, Palazzo Chupi, New York, 2011

 

Harry Benson photographed artist Julian Schnabel at his famed home and studio Palazzo Chupi in the West Village for his book New York, New York (published in 2014).  As Benson noted, “his environment was as unique as the artist was himself”.  Works shown here include a photograph by Luigi Ontani (over the fireplace) and Schnabel’s own works I Don’t Nothing (2005) (click here) and To Get Nothing (2005) (click here).

Robert Doisneau, Le Fox-Terrier du Pont de Arts, 1953

Robert Doisneau

Le Fox-Terrier du Pont de Arts, 1953

Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Pratt Institute of Art, Brooklyn, New York, circa 1950

Louise Dahl-Wolfe

Pratt Institute of Art, Brooklyn, New York, circa 1950

 

Pratt Institute is a private university in Brooklyn, New York which was founded in 1887 and is primarily known for its programs in fine art, architecture, and design. When it opened, it was among the first colleges in the United States to welcome students regardless of class, color, or gender.


Dahl-Wolfe also attended art school, studying to be a painter at the San Francisco Institute of Art before her career in photography.

William Klein, Painting + Coffee: Simone D'Aillencourt, Fabiani, 1960

William Klein

Painting + Coffee: Simone D'Aillencourt, Fabiani, 1960

George Hoyningen-Huene, Art in Fashion: Model in Balenciaga in front of painting by Miró, photographed in Helena Rubenstein’s Paris Home, 1939

George Hoyningen-Huene

Art in Fashion: Model in Balenciaga in front of painting by Miró, photographed in Helena Rubenstein’s Paris Home, 1939

Abe Frajndlich  Rosebud Conway, Georgia O’Keeffe, Chicago, 1973

Abe Frajndlich

Rosebud Conway, Georgia O’Keefe, Chicago, 1973

 

Frajndlich, well-known for his photographs of artists, met the aspiring actress and performer Rosebud Conway in 1970 in Cleveland, Ohio. They became roommates and then later became artistic and romantic partners. “Rosie” and Frajndlich began collaborating on a series of photographs in which she imagined herself as a mime who transformed her character based on varied environments and who “interacted” with various artworks – particularly at the Chicago Art Institute as shown here.

 

From 1943 to 1947, Georgia O'Keeffe painted a series that explored the intricate shapes and surfaces of animal bones. The bones were pictured in their entirety or in magnified detail. Frajndlich further abstracts Conway’s head and hair and mimics the circular forms in O’Keeffe’s Pelvis III, 1944 (click here). Coincidentally, this particular painting has been used in the background of a few other photographs, including a C.W. Huston portrait of O’Keeffe’s husband Alfred Stieglitz (click here).

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