Helmut Newton - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “The beauty of photography is that there’s a mystery about it. You’re just dealing with that one moment.” - Helmut Newton

    Over his decades-long career, Helmut Newton created a style marked by an unabashed and gloriously decadent sexuality. Newton distinguished himself by circumventing more conventional approaches to fashion photography of the 1950s and 1960s. In doing so, he created imagery that was revolutionary for its era, defying the expectations of designers and fashion enthusiasts alike. Indeed, fashion impresario Karl Lagerfeld has noted that Newton’s images, ‘have survived better than the fashion they were meant to represent or illustrate.’

    Woman Examining Man, Calvin Klein, American Vogue, Saint Tropez, 1975, presents the female model seated, relaxed, confident, and her legs splayed as she inspects the semi-clad man standing nearby. Newton frames the model as the domineering character within the scene, thereby subverting the art-historical precedent of depicting a woman subject as passive. The male model’s submissive physicality, and more so, the absence of his face from the image, relegates him to the traditionally feminine role of sex object. The woman depicted is in control of her eroticism; her seduction of the man is calculating, deliberate and assertive. Newton presents her as the emblem of a new era, one that called for the liberation of women, imbuing them with a formerly negated sense of empowerment that is undeniably and seductively compelling.

    • Provenance

      Addison/Ripley Fine Art, Washington, D.C.

    • Literature

      "The Story of Ohhh..." American Vogue, 1 May 1975, p. 106
      Heiting, Helmut Newton, p. 124
      Newton, Pages from the Glossies: Facsimiles, 1956-1998, p. 316

    • Artist Biography

      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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Woman Examining Man, Calvin Klein, American Vogue, Saint Tropez

Gelatin silver print from Private Property Suite III, printed 1984.
14 1/4 x 9 1/2 in. (36.2 x 24.1 cm)
Signed, numbered '5,' 12/75 in pencil, and 'Private Property' copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$15,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $24,130

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023