Extended - 31.01.2020

The name Horst is synonymous with timeless elegance and sensual sophistication. He ranks alongside Irving Penn and Richard Avedon as one of the preeminent photographers of the 20th century and today it is hard to overstate Horst’s influence; every subsequent generation of photographers has looked to him for inspiration. A leading artist at Vogue magazine for six decades, Horst was an international figure who travelled from Paris to New York and beyond, to chronicle the interwoven worlds of art, design, performance and glamorous high society. The photographs exhibited here are testament to Horst’s virtuoso talent, his mastery of light, form and space. These pictures reveal the extraordinary breadth of his career, encompassing elegant nudes, fashion, celebrity portraits, and still life studies.

(Text Susanna Brown)


World-famous fashion and portrait photographer Horst P. Horst -
Master of dramatic fashion light


Founded by Ariane Schneider-Paffrath and Claudia Gericke in 2016, the Gericke + Paffrath Gallery has quickly established a name for itself; one the one hand, as a European stage for the lively contemporary Latin American art scene, and on the other hand as a popular address for timeless modern photography. With its high white walls, its impressive black-and-gold cellar vault, as well as its prime location in the vibrant art district of Düsseldorf’s Carlstadt, the gallery is considered a hotspot - a place for innovative exhibition concepts, not far from the city’s major museums, galleries, art dealers, and auction houses. 


The two lateral entrants - art historian Ariane Schneider-Paffrath and the art-loving economist Claudia Gericke - surprise with their idiosyncratic art productions. Their concentration on both the presentation of extraordinary Latin American artists and on photography, which, for a long time, has been considered subordinate to art, creates an exciting spectrum of different artistic positions. 


Seeing that photography counts as more than mere reality production, the gallery owners focus on photographic artworks that differentiate themselves from everyday aesthetics in the digital age of visual overstimulation: With the exhibition of iconic photographs by Horst P. Horst, the master of fashion light, they are putting on a show that pays tribute to the auratic potential of photography - a stark contrast to the flood of images we are exposed to in this day and age. 


Not only did Horst have a unique approach to capturing beauty, but he also created novel photography settings for divas like Marlene Dietrich, Rita Hayworth, and Coco Chanel. Indeed, the photographer was a visionary, whose groundbreaking backdrops performed pioneering work in a time, when fashion models were just starting to learn how to walk for magazines like Vogue. Horst P. Horst (1906 - 1999) was a true star of the rich and beautiful. He had them all in front of his camera: Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, the Rothilds, Steve McQueen, Katherine Hepburn, Olivia de Havilland, Bette Davis, and many more. Even Salvador Dalí was part of his entourage, responsible for sets and shots. 


Alongside Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, the German-born Horst is recognized as one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century. His name stood and continues to stand symbolically for an incomparably stylish elegance. Today, Horst’s pictures are cult - above all, his most famous motive, the Mainboch corset from 1939. At a recent Christie’s auction of the photographers Avedon, Penn, Helmut Newton, and Horst, it obtained an impressive sum of around 120,000 Euros. 


During the exhibition, the aforementioned photograph can be admired at the Gericke + Paffrath Gallery, alongside a limited edition of 25 pictures by Horst, including, inter alia, his most famous black-and-white classics. The collection of photographs shows that Horst was more than the “kind of fashion photography” because he also served as a chronicler of his time. In recent years, the major Victoria & Albert museum retrospective “Horst: Photographer of Style”, a traveling exhibition which also took place at the NRW Forum Düsseldorf, showed that Horst continues to shape the zeitgeist today. 


Through private liaison with the entrepreneur, photography expert, and art collector Gert Elfering, gallery owners Schneider-Paffrath and Gericke were able to bring Horst to Düsseldorf once again. Since the late 1990s, Elfering, who personally knew Horst, administrates the Horst Archive and his residence in Oyster Bay, Miami. 


Suzanne Brown, curator for photography at the V&A, will be attending the exhibition’s vernissage, which takes place September 6th in conjunction with the yearly DC Open gallery weekend. The exhibition will publicly open on Saturday, September 7th, at 12pm and run until the 31st of December 2019. 


Gericke + Paffrath Gallery

Bilker Strasse 3

40213 Düsseldorf


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