Sie Kommen, Paris (Dressed and Naked)

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  • Condition Report

    Request Condition Report
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist, early 1990s

  • Literature

    French Vogue, November 1981, pp. 164-165, variant presentation, there titled Une Taille Fine et un Buste Parfait
    Newton, Helmut Newton: Big Nudes, n.p.
    Newton, World Without Men, p. 72
    Felix, The Best of Helmut Newton, pls. 31-32
    Harrison, Appearances: Fashion Photography Since 1945, pp. 40-41
    Heiting, Helmut Newton: Work, pp. 188-189
    Lagerfeld, Helmut Newton 47 Nudes, p. 47 (Naked)
    Puschkin Museum, Helmut Newton in Moskau, The Photographic Work, 3 October - 5 November 1989, p. 41
    Scalo, Helmut Newton: Pages from the Glossies: Facsimiles 1956-1998, pp. 430-431, variant presentation
    Schirmer Mosel, Helmut Newton: Aus dem Photographischen Werk, pp. 31-32
    Taschen, Helmut Newton: Work, pp. 188-189
    Kicken and Förster, Points of View: Masterpieces of Photography and Their Stories, pp. 248-249
    Koetzle, Photo Icons: Vol. 2, pp. 142-151

  • Catalogue Essay

    Sie Kommen, Paris (Dressed and Naked), the title for Helmut Newton’s stunning diptych, translates from German to English as “they are coming.” It is an imposing diptych of four super-women on the march. Posed exactly in the same way in the left and right halves, they are triumphant and empowered both in their high fashion suits and in their nudity. Further, the present lot is a rare exhibition-sized printing, which imbues the models with a towering presence, and places all who stand before this monumental installation, in the path of the models’ powerful, verging on dangerous, beauty.

    First used as a two-page spread in French Vogue in 1981, Sie Kommen, Paris marked a turning point in Newton’s work. Newton started working for French Vogue in the 1960s and had become famous for introducing erotic subjects to fashion photography. In his earlier work, the location in which he photographed his models added to the sexual fantasy of his images, but with Sie Kommen, Paris, Newton left the lush interiors and streets of Paris and shot his subjects in a studio. In Sie Kommen (Dressed) we see the interior of the studio where the white backdrop touches the floor. In contrast, in Sie Kommen (Naked) the clothes disappear with the exception of high heels, and the studio becomes a boundless white space. As Karl Lagerfeld once noted, it is only with high heels that “. . . a woman [is] really naked for Newton.” With no supporting props the dressed and naked models become the whole story. Anne Tucker, who curated the first American retrospective of Newton, said “Big Nudes, for me, is where he steps away from the fashion magazines and came into his own on what a Helmet Newton woman was. . . Look at the way these women are boldly striding in these pictures. . . They are Amazons.”

    One can only imagine the effect such a subversively powerful image had on the public when it first appeared in French Vogue. Since then, Sie Kommen, Paris, has become an icon and has been illustrated extensively. It is the centerfold image in Newton’s provocative book Helmut Newton: Big Nudes, 1990. In his introductory essay for Big Nudes, Karl Lagerfeld states that for Newton “. . . there is no ‘weaker sex’. . . His women are part of a ‘strong’ sex.” Lagerfeld goes on to discuss the three periods of Newton’s life: the Berlin of his youth, “his spiritual home” from which Newton fled in 1938 after the horrors of Kristallnacht (during which his father was interned); “the unknown mysterious Australian period” where Newton enlisted in the Australian army; followed by Paris, where he arrived “in 1956 in a white Porsche with red leather upholstery.” It is in the fashion world of Paris that Newton created this enduring image of sex, glamour, and female power, which boldly resonates from this exceptional presentation of Sie Kommen, Paris.

  • Artist Bio

    Helmut Newton

    German • 1920 - 2004

    Helmut Newton's distinct style of eroticism and highly produced images was deemed rebellious and revolutionary in its time, as he turned the expected notion of beauty, depicted by passive and submissive women, on its head. Depicting his models as strong and powerful women, Newton reversed gender stereotypes and examined society's understanding of female desire.

    Newton created a working space for his models that was part decadent and part unorthodox — a safe microcosm in which fantasies became reality. And perhaps most famously of all, Newton engendered an environment in which his female models claimed the space around them with unapologetic poise and commanding sensuality. His almost cinematic compositions provided a hyper-real backdrop for the provocative images of sculptural, larger-than-life women, and enhanced the themes of voyeurism and fetishism that run throughout his work.

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85

Sie Kommen, Paris (Dressed and Naked)

1981
Four gelatin silver prints.
Each print of 'Dressed' is 76 1/2 x 37 3/4 in. (194.3 x 95.9 cm).
Each print of 'Naked' is 76 1/8 x 34 3/4 in. (193.4 x 88.3 cm).
Overall 'Dressed' dimensions are 77 3/4 x 78 1/4 in. (197.5 x 198.8 cm).
Overall 'Naked' dimensions are 77 1/2 x 72 1/4 in. (196.9 x 183.5 cm).

Each signed, titled, dated, numbered 1/3 and annotated 'Left Side,' 'Right Side,' 'Dressed,' or 'Naked' in pencil on the verso.

Estimate
$600,000 - 800,000 

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Photographs

New York Auction 4 April 2019