Peter Fetterman on His Favorite Photographs

The longtime gallerist reflects on some of his most-loved works coming to auction, and his relationships with the photographers who took them.

The longtime gallerist reflects on some of his most-loved works coming to auction, and his relationships with the photographers who took them.

Sheila Metzner Campidoglio, 1986. 
Tailor-Made: Fashion Photographs from the Collection of Peter Fetterman, 18-25 June. 

William Klein

William Klein Sandra + Mirror, Time Square, New York (Vogue), 1962. 

"William Klein was not the first fashion photographer to work outside the confines of a studio. But no one seemed to embrace the city street as a backdrop for telling a story as successfully as he did. He imbued fashion photography with an incredible energy and spirit. No one has the guts that William Klein has, and the energy that emanates from these images is unrivaled. Bravo William!"


Gordon Parks

Gordon Parks Untitled, New York, N.Y., 1956. 

"Gordon Parks was one of the great photojournalists of the 20th century. But what is less known is that he was also one of the great fashion photographers of the era. While his hard-hitting journalistic images confronted the real truths of the world, Parks’ fashion work documents an incredible, seemingly impossible, level of elegance. What I love about this image is that I’m immediately captivated by this woman’s story. She’s coming home, obviously, after a long evening, deep in her own thoughts. Gordon Parks takes us with her on our own journey."


Melvin Sokolsky

Melvin Sokolsky Bubble Seine, Paris, 1963. 

"Bubble Seine, Paris by Melvin Sokolsky is probably one of the most important images in the history of fashion photography. It can be hard to remember there was a pre-digital, pre-photoshop era, and Melvin and his team expended the most incredible energy and effort to create this, hoisting a glass bubble with an elegant model over the Seine. Incredibly dangerous, incredibly gutsy. This print, which was made using the platinum process, really brings out the nuances of the fashion and the model. It’s one of the most special images in the history of fashion photography."


Lillian Bassman 

Lillian Bassman Paris Gala Night, Barbara Mullen, Dress by Patou, Paris, 1949. 

"One of my longest and most rewarding collaborations with a photographer was with Lillian Bassman. She was one of the most inspiring people I’ve ever met. The first thing I used to do after landing at JFK was rush to her studio to sit with her, just for an hour, because I knew spending an hour with Lillian would set me right for my whole New York trip. What she had to offer that was really special was the insight she had into the female models she photographed. What Lillian managed to get was this incredible understanding of their intimate lives: their husbands, lovers, children. They would open up to Lillian, and she in turn would imbue her images with this insight. Elegant, graceful, beautiful, touching and very moving."


Horst P. Horst

Horst P. Horst Bombay Bathing Fashion, Oyster Bay, N.Y., 1950. 

"Horst was one of the truly great classic fashion photographers. After an incredibly distinguished career in Europe, he moved to New York just at the beginning of the War. He built an amazing house for himself in Oyster Bay, which became a kind of salon for all the greats in the design and fashion world: Chanel, Dali, Coward. Everybody who was anybody came to visit him. This is such a beautiful image, shot in his house. It’s really my favorite image from his body of work. It’s the use of sunlight and shadow and the simple straw mats, as well as the natural rapport between the two models that he managed to capture. A true gem."


Len Prince

Len Prince Ford Model VIII, N.Y.C., 1991. 

"What’s wonderful about my day job is that sometimes one comes across an extraordinary young talent. I met Len Prince in New York a few years ago, and he showed me these photographs that he collaborated on with the Ford modeling agency. I just fell in love with the images, and to me, it captured the best of the past while managing to give it a modern twist. This image is one of my favorites. Flash-forward to a couple of years ago, we were at Paris Photo and in walks a gentleman who’s completely entranced by this image. When I went to check on him, he said, 'This is the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen' and it turned out after our discussion that he was France’s top plastic surgeon. He bought it, and he’s lived with that face every day of his life since."


Sarah Moon

Sarah Moon Fashion 4, Yohji Yamamoto, 1996. 

"Sarah Moon is a one-of-a-kind photographer. If you were a dress designer, it would be your dream to have Sarah Moon photograph your collection. There is no one in the history of fashion photography that evokes such romanticism, such mood. She started out as a model, so she knows the craft from both ends. She has an incredible technical skill and use of color. When I look at her images, I’m transported into a pre-Raphealite panting. This is the first time one of her prints in a large format has ever come to auction."