The Collection of Georges Bermann

Oct 21, 2016 4:11PM

Phillips' Paris exhibition spotlights the illustrious career of Georges Bermann, one of the world's most influential producers, born of his combined love for photography, cinema, and music. 

The illustrious career of Georges Bermann, one of the world's most influential producers, was born of his combined love for photography, cinema and music. Georges started his production company Partizan in the mid-1980s, his head full of dreams about combining his three passions. In 1994, he produced the now iconic Levi's commercial 'Drugstore', directed by his longtime creative partner Michel Gondry and created by the world famous advertising agency BBH. 'Drugstore', which referenced American photographers Walker Evans and O. Winston Link, became the most awarded commercial of all time and propelled his then small company into a global leader in advertising and music video productions.

Partizan gave shape to such groundbreaking music videos as Bjork's 'Human Behaviour', Daft Punk's 'Around the World', White Stripe's 'Seven Nation Army' and many more. Throughout his career, Georges has enjoyed spotting and fostering new talents, many of whom have developed into today's top filmmakers. His many notable films include the Oscar-winning Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Be kind rewind (2008), and Moonwalkers (2015). 

Georges's passion for collecting photography developed alongside his professional career, and his exceptional photography collection – highlights from which are offered here – includes works by twentieth century masters as well as works by celebrated and emerging contemporary artists. His first love was Irving Penn and his first acquisition on the back of a job was Penn's Lipstick Chunks, New York, 1982, at a time when the photography market was still in its infancy. Next came Richard Avedon, followed by William Eggleston and Robert Mapplethorpe. These greats were later joined by contemporary image-makers, many of whom were little-known at the time their work entered his collection, including Nick Knight, Guido Mocafico, Pieter Hugo and Taryn Simon, to name a few.

Cinematic references inform Georges's collection, as seen in the works by Stanley Kubrick and Dennis Hopper to Annie Leibovitz's photograph of R2-D2 and Pieter Hugo's image of Nollywood. In such visually arresting portraits as Richard Avedon's Blue Cloud Wright, slaughterhouse worker, and Nick Knight's Kate, the subjects - like the characters in a film - stare out at the viewer and command our gaze. Highland Park, a photograph of a muscle car in flight by Matthew Porter, who is appearing at auction for the first time, resembles a film still - a scene suspended in time. 

The featured works from Georges's collection represent the culmination of over 25 years of collecting. A true visionary, Georges approached collecting photography in the same way as signing a filmmaker, relying on his instinct and his keen eye: "Everything I do comes from instinct – one feeling, in one direction, with the same rhythm." Driven by a life-long fascination with the pulse of life, its mysteries and constant transformations, Georges's unique vision is apparent in each of his works on offer.

Explore Phillips: Photographs on Artsy, and place max bids on more than 120 artworks. Live bidding opens Thursday, November 3rd, at 2:00pm BST (10:00am EDT).