In this exhibition of photographs by Bert Stern, the full sweep of his remarkable career is revealed; from the work that signaled his meteoric rise in the advertising world of the 1950's through the 1960's and 70's when he became the prototype of the fashion photographer as the embodiment of glamour: a legend himself.
Bert Stern began his career as a mailroom boy at Look Magazine. The launch of his career and the golden age of advertising would coincide with his iconic and legendary campaign for Smirnoff Vodka in 1955. With the brilliance of that work he became a star in the world of advertising. Editorial work followed, and working for Vogue put Bert Stern at the pinnacle of his career. Sought after by Madison Avenue, Hollywood, and the international fashion scene, he was at the heart of the world of photography.
Groundbreaking images of the great personalities of the world, from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Marilyn Monroe and Twiggy to Louis Armstrong and Frank Lloyd Wright, made Bert Stern a celebrity in his own right. He became the center of an exciting studio where the world of fashion, celebrity and advertising revolved around him, all attracted by his energy, charm and exceptional talent.
Stern lived on the edge and when his commercial empire crumbled in the 1970's he dropped out of sight. Since the 1980's he has rebuilt his career and his work has undergone the reevaluation and appreciation that is evident in this exhibition.
The release of the documentary Bert Stern: Original Mad Man will coincide with the Staley-Wise exhibition. The film is a particularly American and totally honest story of self-creation, a fall from grace, and reinvention.