Herb Ritts  (American, 1952-2002) 

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Herb Ritts (American, 1952–2002) is one of the most notable fashion and portrait photographers of the late 1980s and 1990s. Ritts grew up in California, and studied Economics and Art History at Bard College in New York, before returning to the West Coast. His spontaneous photographs of Richard Gere at the start of the actor’s career in 1978 were published in American Vogue, Esquire, and Mademoiselle. Fashion designers in Europe and magazines in New York recognized Ritts self-taught talent, and their commissions established Ritts as a renowned photographer. Ritts’ photographs, described as “Retro-Neo-Deco” in style, were often shot in dramatic locations, such as deserts, seascapes, and places of vast beauty.

Ritts is famous for his Fred with Tires series (1984), and his portrait of Madonna for the cover of her record-breaking 1986 album True Blue, as well as unconventional photographs of Elizabeth Taylor and Dizzy Gillepsie. His subjects also include Antonio Banderas, Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Stephen Hawking, Michael Jordan, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, B.B. King, Nelson Mandela, Edward Norton, Christopher Reeve, and Tina Turner, as well as fellow artists Keith Haring (American, 1958–1990), Robert Rauschenberg (American, 1925–2008), Louise Bourgeois (American/French, 1911–2010), Francesco Clemente (Italian, b.1952), Roy Lichtenstein (American, 1923–1997). Ritts’s understanding of the body, its light, texture, and warmth, enabled him to portray iconic images of women and men alike. Ritts authored many books, such as Men/Women (1989), Notorious (1992), Africa (1994), Work (1996), Duo (1991), and Pictures (1988).

His work has been exhibited in numerous museums, such as the Fondation Cartier Pour L'Art Contemporain in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, CA, the National Portrait Gallery and the Hayward Gallery in London, and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, NY. Several of his works have also been acquired by The Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

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Artworks for sale (107)
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Artworks for sale (107)

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Herb Ritts, Untitled

 

Herb Ritts
Untitled
Hamburg Kennedy Photographs
Herb Ritts, Cindy Crawford, Costa Careyes, 1998

 

Herb Ritts
Cindy Crawford, Costa Careyes, 1998
Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Stephanie Seymour, Hollywood, 1991

 

Herb Ritts
Stephanie Seymour, Hollywood, 1991
Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Naomi Campbell - Versace, El Mirage 2

 

Herb Ritts
Naomi Campbell - Versace, El Mirage 2
1990

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Tatjana in Swimsuit, Hollywood

 

Herb Ritts
Tatjana in Swimsuit, Hollywood
1989

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Tatjana with Black Sand - Close Up, Hawaii

 

Herb Ritts
Tatjana with Black Sand - Close Up, Hawaii
1997

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Cindy Crawford - Versace, El Mirage

 

Herb Ritts
Cindy Crawford - Versace, El Mirage
1990

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Christy Turlington - Valentino, Miami

 

Herb Ritts
Christy Turlington - Valentino, Miami
1995

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Herb Ritts, Christy in White, Los Angeles

 

Herb Ritts
Christy in White, Los Angeles
1988

Edwynn Houk Gallery
Past auction results (715)  View All
Herb Ritts, Jack Nicholson III, London

 

Herb Ritts
Jack Nicholson III, London, 1988
gelatin silver print

 

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Herb Ritts, Nude model (Brigitte Nielson, Malibu)

 

Herb Ritts
Nude model (Brigitte Nielson, Malibu), 1987
toned silver print

 

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Herb Ritts, Giraffe

 

Herb Ritts
Giraffe, 1993
gelatin silver print

 

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1952   Born: Brentwood, CA
1970 - 1974   Majored in economics and art history at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York
1991   Received an Infinity Award for Applied Photography from the International Center for Photography(ICP) in New York, NY for the portraits he shot for The Gap
1980 - 2001   Worked with magazines such as Harper's Bazaar, Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Vogue on portraits of famous people and artistic photos of models
Created successful advertising campaigns for Calvin Klein, Chanel, Donna Karan, Gap, Gianfranco Ferré, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Levi’s, Pirelli, Polo Ralph Lauren, Valentino among others
2002   Died: Los Angeles, CA from pneumonia-related complications
2008   Was awarded a Pioneer Award from The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation(GLAAD)
2010   Revealed: The Tradition of Male Homoerotic Art, Central Connecticut State University Art Galleries, New Britain, CT
Thanks for Being With Us: Contemporary Art from the Douglas Nielsen Collection, Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona
Mick Jagger: Promenade Rock, Recontres d'arles, Arles, France
2009   Ingres and the Moderns, Musée Ingres, Musée National des Beaux-Arts du Québec, Quebec, Canada
2008   Vanity Fair: Photographs 1913-2008, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA; traveling to: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland and National Portrait Gallery, London, U.K.
This Side of Paradise: Body and Landscape in L.A. Photographs, The Huntington Library, San Marino, CA
Herb Ritts and Horst P. Horst, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
2007   The Missing Peace: Artists Consider the Dalai Lama, Rubin Museum of Art, New York, NY
Herb Ritts, Hamiltons Gallery, London, U.K.(solo)
All For Art! Great Private Collections Among US, Musée des Beaux Arts , Montreal, Canada
OCULTOS (Hidden), Fundacion Canal, Madrid, Spain
Classic Beauty: Part 2 - Photographs of the Male Nude, Throckmorton Fine Art, New York, NY
Celebrity Photographs 2007, Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA(solo)
2006   Herb Ritts: A Personal Vision, Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY(solo)
Sans Regard: Collection Dancing Bear of W.M. Hunt, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
2005   Herb Ritts : BODY 1984-1999, Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
25 Years: Fay Gold Anniversary Exhibition, Fay Gold Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Chronos: Time in Art From the 17th Century to the Modern Day, Il Filatoio, Caraglio, Italy
Speaking With Hands: Photographs from The Buhl Collection, Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao, Spain
2004   Herb Ritts, Museum of Art & History, Shunan City, Japan(solo)
Body, Staton Greenberg Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA
Platinum, Galleria abOrigena, Milan, Italy
Photo-Icon, Arte Fino, Zurich, Switzerland
2003   Herb Ritts Memorial Exhibition, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA(solo)
Herb Ritts, Daimaru Museum, Kyoto, Japan(solo)
Masterworks in Platinum, Camera Obscura, Denver, CO
2002   Faces in Music 1952-2002, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Archeology of Elegance, International Hall of Photography, Hamburg, Germany
2001   Cartier, NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany; traveling to: Galleria Carla Sozzani, Milan, Italy
The Portrait / The Nude III, Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Herb Ritts - NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf, Germany(solo)
2000   Herb Ritts, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy(solo)
Herb Ritts: Photographien, Camerawork Gallery, Berlin, Germany
Masterminds of Mode: International Fashion Festival, Kobe Fashion Museum, Kobe, Japan
1999   Herb Ritts, Fondation Cartier pour L'Art Contemporain, Paris, France (solo)
Herb Ritts: WORK, Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO(solo)
Addressing the Century: 100 Years of Art & Fashion, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg, Germany
1998   Herb Ritts, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR (solo)
Herb Ritts: Photographs, SK Josefsberg Studio, Portland, OR(solo)
Waterproof/A Prova de Agua, Centro Cultural de Belém, Lisbon, Portugal
1997   Summer Pleasures, Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, NY
Africa, Albany Museum of Arts, Albany, GA
1996   Herb Ritts: Work, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA(solo)
  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA
Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY
Museum of Art & History, Shunan City, Japan
Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY
International Hall of Photography, Hamburg, Germany
Kobe Fashion Museum, Kobe, Japan
Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL
Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, IL
Daimaru Museum, Tokyo, Japan
Museo Nazionale del Cinema, Turin, Italy
Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona
National Portrait Gallery, London, U.K.
2010    Charchward, Charles. Herb Ritts: The Golden Hour: A Photographer's Life and His World. Rizzoli: New York
2002    Bellafante, Ginia. Herb Ritts, Photographer Of Celebrities, Is Dead at 50. New York Times
1999    Herb Ritts: Foundation Cartier Pour L'art Contemporain. Thames & Hudson; London
1996    Ritts, Herb & Fairbrother, Trevor. Herb Ritts: Work. Bulfinch: Boston
1992    Ritts, Herb. Notorious. Bulfinch: Boston
1989    Ritts, Herb. Men/Women. Twin Palms Publishers: Santa Fe