Horst P. Horst, ‘Costume For Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus (Lobster #1)’, 1980s, Rago

"Costume for Salvador Dali's Dream of Venus (Lobster #1)", 1939, Gelatin silver print, 1980s, signed "Horst" in pencil on verso. "Horst" signature blind stamp recto, 11.375 x 9" image, 14 x 11" print

Horst P. Horst apprenticed in Le Corbusier's studio in Paris in 1930, then gave up architecture for photography, which he learned from George Hoyningen-Huene. Horst worked as a photographer for French Vogue and, after immigrating to the United States prior to WWII, as a photographer for American Vogue. By the 1950s, his trademark elegance was considered outdated in editorial fashion photography. Diana Vreeland, editor-in-chief at Vogue, encouraged him to photograph international high society, he spent most of his time between 1961 and 1975 traveling and photographing for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and House & Garden. His innovative use of lighting that enhanced his subjects' best features contributed to the success of both his architectural and life-style photographs, which established a new standard for the field in the 1960s. The resurgence of luxury in fashion photography in the late 1970s and early 1980s renewed interest in Horst's pictures from the 1930s. Several exhibitions of his work have been mounted, including two retrospectives at the International Center for Photography (ICP), one of which coincided with his receiving the ICP Master of Photography Infinity Award in 1996.--Courtesy of Rago Auctions

About Horst P. Horst

Horst P. Horst (born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann) was one of the towering figures of 20th century fashion photography. Best known for his work with Vogue—who called him “photography’s alchemist”—Horst rose to prominence in Paris in the interwar years, publishing his first work with the magazine in 1931. In the decades that followed, Horst’s experimentations with radical composition, nudity, double exposures, and other avant-garde techniques would produce some of the most iconic fashion images ever, like Mainbocher Corset and Lisa with Harp (both 1939). As The New York Times once described, “Horst tamed the avant-garde to serve fashion.” Though associated most closely with fashion photography, Horst captured portraits of many of the 20th century’s brightest luminaries, dabbling with influences as far-ranging as Surrealism and Romanticism. “I like taking photographs, because I like life,” he once said. “And I love photographing people best of all, because most of all I love humanity.”

German-American, 1906-1999