Helmut Newton - Photographs London Friday, May 19, 2023 | Phillips
  • “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.”
    —Anne Tucker, curator of Newton’s first American retrospective 

    Helmut Newton’s (1920-2004) Sie Kommen, Naked, offered here, features four super-women, naked except for polished heels, approaching confidently. As the Naked half of the iconic Sie Kommen diptych, the title of which translates from German to English as ‘they are coming’, all the garments from the Dressed version have disappeared. As Karl Lagerfeld once noted, it is only with high heels that ‘a woman [is] really naked for Newton.’ With no supporting props the naked models become the whole story. First appearing as a two-page spread in French Vogue in 1981, the Dressed/Naked diptych marked a turning point in Newton’s work as he left the lush interiors and alluring streets of Paris and shot his subjects in a studio. One can only imagine the effect such subversively powerful images of women had on the public when they first debuted.  


     Trailer for Gero von Boehm’s 2020 film Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful

    • Provenance

      Collection of Dodie Rosekrans, San Francisco
      Sotheby's, New York, Property from the Collection of Dodie Rosekrans, 8 December 2011, lot 272
      Phillips, New York, 1 October 2019, lot 198

    • Literature

      Vogue Paris, November 1981, p. 164
      Helmut Newton, World Without Men, New York: Xavier Moreau, 1984, p. 72
      Helmut Newton: Private Property, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1989, pl. 37
      Helmut Newton: Big Nudes, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1990, n.p.
      M. Harrison, Appearances: Fashion Photography since 1945, New York: Rizzoli, 1991, p. 241
      Z. Felix ed., The Best of Helmut Newton, New York: Thunder's Mouth, 1996, pl. 32
      I. Jeffrey, The Photography Book, London: Phaidon, 1997, p. 345
      Helmut Newton: Pages from the Glossies: Facsimiles 1956–1998, Göttingen: Steidl, 1998, p. 460
      Helmut Newton: Work, Cologne: Taschen, 2000, p. 189
      H. Koetzle, Photo Icons. The Story Behind the Photos., Vol. 2, Cologne: Taschen, 2002, p. 146, 151
      Helmut Newton: Private Property, Munich: Schirmer, 2003, pl. 37

    • 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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Sie Kommen, Naked, Paris

Gelatin silver print.
41.8 x 35.7 cm (16 1/2 x 14 in.)
Signed, titled, dated, annotated in pencil and copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

£40,000 - 60,000 

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Rachel Peart
Head of Department, London

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

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London Auction 19 May 2023