Ellen von Unwerth - Photographs New York Wednesday, April 6, 2022 | Phillips

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  • "I always say, ‘let life come to you instead of trying to control everything.’ I want energy and movement in my images, because that’s how life is." —Ellen von Unwerth

    Ellen Von Unwerth is internationally renowned for her glamorous, joyful and empowering portraits of female models. Coming to prominence in 1989 with her legendary Guess campaign, she contributed to launching the careers of Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, and Kate Moss, amongst others. Von Unwerth worked as a model before going behind the camera. Her close relationships with her photographed subjects are intrinsically part of her image-making process, often resulting in cheerful images playing with the classic representation of the ‘pin-up’ figure. Four works take part in this auction, ranging from cinematic and erotic black and white portraits taken in the 1990s to Von Unwerth’s iconic Double Trouble dating from 2008. This colourful and cheeky photograph depicts two female models standing upside down on a balustrade, playfully revealing their undergarments while looking straight at the camera. 

    Von Unwerth’s work has been exhibited widely, including the C5 Art Center, Beijing; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Portrait Gallery, London; and Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney. She received the Royal Photographic Society Award for Editorial, Advertising and Fashion Photography in 2020.

    • Provenance

      Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, 2011

    • Literature

      Taschen, Ellen Von Unwerth: Fräulein, n.p.



Double Trouble, New York

Chromogenic print.
47 x 70 1/2 in. (119.4 x 179.1 cm)
Overall 49 3/8 x 73 in. (125.4 x 185.4 cm)

Signed, titled, dated, numbered 2/3 in ink, printed copyright credit and reproduction limitation notations on a certificate of authenticity accompanying the work.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $25,200

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 6 April 2022