Bettina Rheims (French, b.1952) is a photographer best known for her erotic images of women. Born in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, Rheims worked as a model before turning to photography in 1978. Her earliest series titled Portraits (1981) featured striptease artists and acrobats posing in her studio. In 1990, she photographed androgynous youths for her series Modern Lovers. She has collaborated with the novelist Serge Bramly on several projects, including the book Chambre Close, published in 1992, which accompanied the fictional narrative of “Monsieur X” with Rheims’s photographs of women posing in hotel rooms.

Her series I.N.R.I. (1998), another collaboration with Bramly, is a biblical narrative illustrated by fashion models. Rheims has photographed fashion and celebrities for magazines and newspapers such as Elle, L’Officiel, and Marie Claire, and she has shot campaigns for Chanel and Lancôme, among other brands. In 1994, she was awarded the Grand Prix de la Photographie of the City of Paris. Her work has been exhibited at the Musée de l´Elysée in Lausanne, Switzerland, the Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, and the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, Germany. She currently lives and works in Paris.

Timeline

1952
Born in Paris, France
1970
Started out photographing striptease artists and acrobats, and did many commissionned works (albums covers, such as for Jean-Jacques Goldman; photos of various stars)
1991–1992
Photographed celebrities and addressed issues of voyeurism and confession, particularly in her project 'Chambre Close', a collaboration with Serge Bramly
1994
Awarded from the Grand Prix de la Photographie of the City of Paris
1995
Took the official portrait photograph of Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic
2002
Promoted by Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, to the grade of Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur for her whole career
Lives and works in Paris, France

Exhibitions

2013
Rose, c'est Paris, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2012
Gender Studies, NRW Foreum Düsseldorf / Camera Work, Berlin, Germany (solo)
2011
Héroïnes, Chanel Nexus Hall, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2011
Made in Paradise, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2011
Rose, c’est Paris, Hong Kong City Hall, China / Fondation Alinari, Florence, Italy (solo)
2010
Rose, c’est Paris (avec Serge Bramly), Richelieu / Galerie de photographie, Paris, France
La collection s'expose - Polaroïd en péril !, Musée de l´Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
AU-DELA DU REEL, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France
Intimacy! Baden in der Kunst, Kunst Museum Ahlen, Ahlen, Germany
2009
Portrait de l’artiste en motocycliste - MAGASIN, Centre National d’art Contemporain de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
Dans l'oeil du critique - Bernard Lamarche-Vadel et les artistes, Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris, France
Influence Pop, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France
2008
Can You Find Happiness?, Co-Berlin, Berlin, Germany
Traumfrauen. 50 Starfotografen zeigen ihre Vision von Schönheit, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Gallery Selections, Hamiltons Gallery, London, UK
REAL. Fotografien aus der Sammlung der DZ-BANK, Städel Museum, Frankfurt, Germany
2008
Just like a Woman, ProjectB Gallery, Milan, Italy
2007
Heroines, Kestnergesellschaft, Hannover, Germany (solo)
Animal, Deyrolle, Paris, France (solo)
Vogue en beauté, 1920-2007, BnF Site François-Mitterrand, Paris, France
Guangzhou Photo Biennial 2007 - Guangzhou Photo Biennial, Guangdong, China
2006
Héroïnes, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France
Retrospective, Kunsthal, Rotterdam, Netherlands ; Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia ; Musée d'Art Contemporain, Lyon, France (solo)
Femmes, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Knokke, Belgium
Twenty Five Years, Cook Fine Art, New York, NY
Colleziona - Forma, Centro Internazionale di Fotografia, Milan, Italy
2005
Retrospective, KunstHausWien, Wien, Germany; NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf, Germany; Botanique Museum, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
YES YES YES YES, Museum Morsbroich, Leverkusen, Germany
2004
Retrospective, Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland ; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo, Norway (solo)
2003
Shanghai, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France (solo)
I.N.R.I., MEO Contemporary Art Collection, Budapest, Hungary(solo)
Corpus Christi - Christus-Darstellungen in der photographie, 1850-2001, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
2002
Chambre Close - L’intégrale, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France (solo)
Archeology of Elegance, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Muster Frau, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
Chambre Close, Cheim & Read Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2001
HIMMELFAHRTEN - Mythos, Kult und Religion in der zeitgenössischen Kunst, Galerie Wolfgang Gmyrek, Dusseldorf, Germany
2000
'INRI', Thaddeus Ropac Gallery, Salzburg, Austria
X'mas, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France
Faith: The Impact of Judeo Christian Religion on Art at the Millinium,The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT
1998
The Erotic Sublime, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria
1997
Anthologie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac - Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria (solo)

Public Collections

Museum for Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany
Sammlung Essl, Vienna, Austria
Olbricht Collection, Essen, Germany
Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Chase Manhattan Bank, New York, USA
La Ville de Paris, France
Commission des Beaux-Arts du Hainaut, Belgium
Deutsches Historisches Museum, Berlin, Germany
DG Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Instituto Cultural Banco Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, France
Ministère de la Culture, Paris, France
Musée de la Mode, Paris, France
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia
Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria
Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain, Paris, France
Daelim Contemporary Art Museum, Seoul, South Korea
Musée de l´Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland

Literature

2006
Héroïnes. Paris: Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, 2006 (catalogue)
2004
S. Bramly, K. Levine, JC. Amman and B. Arell, Rétrospective Bettina Rheims. Munich, Germany: Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, 2004
More Trouble. Munich, Germany: Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, 2004
2003
Shanghai. Paris, France: Robert Laffont, 2003
2000
X’mas. Paris, France: Léo Scheer, 2000
1998
I.N.R.I. Paris, France: Albin Michel, 1998
1994
Animal. Munich, Germany: Kehayoff (Gina) Verlag, 1994
1992
Chambre Close. Paris, France: Maeght, 1992
1990
Modern Lovers. Paris, France: Paris Audiovisuel, 1990
1989
Female Trouble. Munich, Germany: Schirmer / Mosel Verlag, 1989