Helmut Newton - Photographs London Friday, May 19, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I started doing a lot of fashion pictures at night in Paris. . . Night gives a very mysterious quality to a woman in the street. I love that.”
    —Helmut Newton

    When shooting for the September 1975 Vogue Paris article ‘Haute Couture, 1975-1976', Helmut Newton (1920-2004) also captured the iteration of Rue Aubriot offered here for his personal portfolio. In this street scene, we are confronted by two quintessential Newton subjects: a striking woman, subverting gender stereotypes in a sophisticated Yves Saint Laurent tuxedo, and a powerful nude woman, wearing polished heels and a stylish Paulette hat. They command the Parisian street at night with an alluring and fantastical sensuality while projecting a calmly dominant and elegant air. Newton's distinct style of eroticism is emphasised in the present lot by the high-gloss finish of the ferrotyped paper, which was his preferred way of presenting his photographs at the early stage of his career. In the wake of 1930s photo-journalistic printing techniques, his use of the ferrotyping process pinpoints the real-time theatrics of photographing on the streets of Paris, intensifying deep blacks to create raw contrasts akin to the practices of paparazzi. 


    Here, Rue Aubriot of Paris’s Marais district, known as a beacon for prostitution at this time, is reclaimed as a space for female power and dominance. ‘A woman does not spend her life sitting or standing in front of a seamless white paper background,’ Newton once claimed. ‘I prefer to take my camera out into the street, into public and private places.’ With his former home at 4 Rue Aubriot acting as the backdrop, this image can be read as representative of his life in Paris. Another reference to his personal life is the dedication to his close friend Patricia ‘Pattie’ Faure, a photographer turned art dealer, citing memories of their crossed paths in Paris. 

    • Provenance

      Directly from the artist to Patricia Faure (1928-2008), American photographer turned art dealer
      Los Angeles Modern Auctions, Modern Art & Design, 11 October 2015, lot 40

    • Literature

      H. Newton, White Women, New York: Stonehill, 1976, p. 23
      N. Hall-Duncan, The History of Fashion Photography, New York: Abrams, 1979, p. 207
      Helmut Newton: Work, Cologne: Taschen, 2001, p. 95

    • 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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Rue Aubriot, Paris

Gelatin silver print on ferrotyped paper.
Image: 29.6 x 20.5 cm (11 5/8 x 8 1/8 in.)
Sheet: 36.9 x 27 cm (14 1/2 x 10 5/8 in.)

Signed, inscribed 'For Pattie – memories of Rue Aubriot –' in ink in the margin; annotated 'Photographed in front of 4, Rue Aubriot Paris, one night during the Collection Aug. 1975 St. Laurent suit, Paulette hat' in ink and 'Paris, France' copyright credit and reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

£20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for £33,020

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London Auction 19 May 2023