Horst P. Horst (American/German, 1999)

Horst P. Horst (American/German, 1906–1999) started gaining acclaim in the pages of British Vogue fashion photography in the early 1930s, after meeting photographer Cecil Beaton (British, 1904–1980). The elegance in which Horst captured his subjects made him influential among a generation of photographers, including Bruce Weber (American, b.1946).

A photographer for Coco Chanel for over three decades, Horst was strongly supported by members of the fashion community, including the prominent fashion editor Diana Vreeland. In addition to his fashion shots and portraiture, Horst photographed landscapes, architectural interiors, and still lifes throughout his career. Embraced by the art world, Horst began exhibiting his work in significant art galleries as early as 1932, and continued throughout his career. In 1989, Horst received the Lifetime Achievement Award of The Council of Fashion Designers of America, and in 1996, the Master of Photography Award from ICP, New York. His has been exhibited at the Fortuny Palace, Venice (1989), the Louvre, Paris (1991), the Museum Ludwig Cologne (1992), the National Portrait Gallery, London (2001), and The Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2007).


Studied architecture at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Hamburg
Student-apprentice, studio of the architect Le Corbusier, Paris
Photographer, with George Hoyningen-Huene, in Vogue magazine studios, Conde Nast Publications, Paris and in New York, since 1935
Emigrated to the US
Educated at the Oberrealschule, Weissenfels
Served in US Army: Technical Sergeant
Maintained Horst Studio, New York
When Horst P Horst began to photograph for Vogue in 1932, fashion photography was still largely in thrall to the style introduced by Steichen in the 1920's and subsequently refined by Hoyningen-Huene. Horst, who had originally come to Paris to study architecture with Le Corbusier, turned instead to photography after making the aquaintance of Hoyningen-Huene, and his own earliest work echoes Hoyningen-Huene's cool classicism. Models were photographed with meticulous precision under artificial lights; studio sets were austere; backgrounds were plain or severly geometric.

Within a few years, however, Horst developed a more frankly oranamental style that was unmistakably his own. His combination of extravagant visual fantasy and vibrant sensuality sets his fashion photography quite apart from those of Vogue's two other principal photographers of the 1930's, Steichen and Cecil Beaton. Gradually introducing more imaginatively furnished sets and drapery, Horst arranged his tableaux with an eye for elegant undulating lines and sophisticated lighting effects. Amid rich surroundings, his model's face might be thrown unexpectedly into silhouette, giving rise to a mood of calculated mystery and anticipation.

In addition to his fashion photographs, Horst produced during the 1930's a series of highly regarded portraits of the leading personalities of the day, including Dietrich, Dali, Cocteau, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Often done outside the studio, these portraits lack the formal perfection of Horst's fashion work, but effectively transmit the air of sometimes desperate gaiety that marked the period between the wars. Although he remains active, and has published highly successful interior studies and patterned abstractions from natural forms, Horst continues to be irrevocably linked with the sensibility of the 1930's.
--Christopher Phillips1906 Born in Weissenfels, Germany


Icons of Fashion and Beauty - Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich
Poetic Renaissance - Galerie Clairefontaine, Luxembourg
Beyond Words: Photography in The New Yorker - UCCA - Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
The Nude Interpreted - Staley-Wise Gallery, New York City, NY
Various Artists - From Collectors' Archives - Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Celebrities & Fashion of the 20th Century - in focus Galerie, Cologne
Westlich Foto - & Kamrea Auktion - WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie, Vienna
Vanity - Kunsthalle Wien (Museumsquartier), Vienna
Becoming: Photographs from the Collection of John and Ginny Soule - Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, ON
The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today - Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich
Great Moments in Glamour - Museum Ludwig, Cologne
Red Dior - Kunstverein Talstrasse e.V., Halle (Saale)
Fotografien 2010 - Galerie Klaus Gerrit Friese, Stuttgart
Foto- & Kamera - Auktion - WestLicht. Schauplatz für Fotografie, Vienna
25 years/25 Works - Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art, New York City, NY
Nudes - Camera Work, Berlin
Another Nude Show - Robert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Woman's Image - Hagedorn Foundation Gallery, Atlanta, GA
Architecture of Fashion - Holden Luntz Gallery, Palm Beach, FL
exposed - Aktfotografie des XX. Jahrhunderts - in focus Galerie, Cologne
Horst P. Horst - Flo Peters Gallery , Hamburg
Something for Everyone - Hamiltons Gallery, London (England)
I love Art 10 - The Fallen Angels - Watari-Um - Watari Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo
Fashion is Big - Holden Luntz Gallery, Palm Beach, FL
Horst P. Horst - Photographs - Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
Herb Rítts & Horst P Horst - Robert Klein Gallery, Boston, MA
Dalla Presitoria al Futuro. Capolavori dalla collezione Bischofsberger - Pinacoteca Giovanni e Marella Agnelli, Turin
Mujeres en plural - Fundacion Canal, Madrid
Fashion - Camera Work, Berlin
Fotógrafos da Vida Moderna - Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo
Gallery Selections - Hamiltons Gallery, London (England)
Horst P. Horst - Jackson Fine Art, Atlanta, GA
Masterpieces - Grieder Contemporary Sils-Maria, Sils-Maria
Horst Centennial - Shadow and Light - Staley-Wise Gallery, New York City, NY
Platinum - Hamiltons Gallery, London (England)
Horst P. Horst - Stellan Holm Gallery, New York City, NY
Horst P. Horst - The selected works - Aidan Gallery, Moscow
The World Of H.p. Horst - Moscow House of Photography, Moscow
National Portrait Gallery, London -solo
Horst Form at Hamiltons Gallery, London -solo
The Male Form, Wessel + O'Connor Fine Art, Brooklyn, NY -solo
Horst.P.Horst at Hamiltons Gallery, London -solo
Das Aktfoto, Fotomuseum im Stadtmuseum, Munich (travelled to Frankfurt, Vienna and Dortmund)
International Center of Photography, New York (retrospective; travelled to Montreal, Venice, Florence, and London, 1985-86) -solo
Staley Wise Gallery, New York- solo
Staley Wise Gallery, New York -solo
Lichtbildnisse: Das Portrat in der Fotografie, Rheinisches landesmuseum, Bonn
Color As Form, International Museum of Photography, Rochester, New York
Galerie Contretype, Brussels -solo
Sonnabend Gallery, New York -solo
La Mode, Galerie Zabriskie, Paris
Allure, International Center of Photography, New York
Fleeting Gestures:: Dance Photography, International Center of Photography, New York (travelled to The Photographers Gallery, London and Venezia '79)
The Fashionable World, Stephen White Gallery, Los Angeles
Galerie Sonnabend, Paris -solo
Sonnabend Gallery, New York -solo
Sonnabend Gallery, New York -solo
Fashion 1900-1939, Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Sonnabend Gallery, New York -solo
Sagittarius Gallery, New York -solo
Country Art Gallery, Westbury, New York -solo
German Seligman Gallery, New York -solo
Galerie La Plume d'Or, Paris -solo

Public Collections

Southeast Museum of Photography, Daytona Beach, FL, USA
Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel