Bill Brandt - Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago London Monday, November 17, 2014 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Gift of an East Coast Collector, 1990

  • Literature

    Gordon Fraser, Bill Brandt: Nudes 1945-1980, pl. 30
    Thames & Hudson, Brandt Nudes: A New Perspective, p. 89

  • Catalogue Essay

    German-born Bill Brandt indisputably brought the British to a new understanding of their culture, heritage, and point of view. He started his career in Paris as a studio assistant for Man Ray, but he left his early exposure to surrealism unexplored until after establishing himself in the 1930s as England’s great photojournalist. A turning point came in Brandt’s work in 1944, when, directly following the Normandy invasion, he purchased a wideangle lens camera used by the police to document crime scenes; with this new equipment, Brandt left behind his keenly observed documentation of English public society and turned inward, to strange and wonderful portrayals of the female nude set in private--or nearly claustrophobic--interiors. His earliest nudes, taken indoors, presenting the models as beautiful aliens, strangely situated on chairs or suggestively positioned in front of recently inhabited beds, with white flesh ethereally lit by large windows or doors left ajar. Over time Brandt moved his camera almost unbearably closer, abstracting the body until it flooded the lens, conjuring fleshy fields with the enormity of an English landscape. Eventually Brandt took a Superwide Hasselblad camera out of doors, travelling to the edge of the sea. There, amongst the rocks and pebbles, the metamorphosis of Brandt’s nudes was complete.


Vastérival, Normandy

Gelatin silver print.
21.9 x 19.5 cm (8 5/8 x 7 5/8 in.)
Two credit stamps and numbered '3', '30' in an unidentified hand in ink on the verso.

£3,500 - 4,500 ‡♠

Sold for £5,250

Contact Specialist
Lou Proud
Head of Photographs
+ 44 207 318 4018

Photographs from the Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago

London 18 November 2014 2pm