Helmut Newton - Photographs London Tuesday, November 23, 2021 | Phillips
  • 'My job as a portrait photographer is to seduce, amuse and entertain.' —Helmut Newton One of Helmut Newton’s (1920-2004) most iconic images, Charlotte Rampling at the Hotel Nord-Pinus, taken in the evening of 19 October 1973 in the famous Arles hotel’s grandest room, was shown in his first solo exhibition in 1975 at Nikon Gallery in Paris and has been widely published, including his first anthology White Women (1976). This powerful portrait epitomises Newton’s distinctive interweaving of portraiture, social documentary and the erotic, always with a provocative tone that ensures his lasting hold on our imaginations. 


    In 1973, English model and actress Rampling was asked to pose nude for Playboy. She recalls her first meeting with Newton and the beginning of their creative collaboration:

    I'd said, ‘I don't want to do nudes,’ but the producers said, ‘We're sending this very good photographer; you can have control of the pictures.’ So we did it. ‘Playboy’ was just a nice picture of me, naked from the back and sitting on a chair. Then Helmut said, ‘Can we now do a nude – our nude?’ Could I come to this fantastic room, where the matadors dressed. ‘Could I take an hour of your life?’ So I threw all my whats to the wind.

    Rampling came to feature prominently in Newton’s œuvre as an icon of sophistication and empowered sexuality. These images helped define her career – a variant from the Nord-Pinus shoot graced the December 1974 issue of Vogue US, pronouncing her ‘The Sexiest Woman in the World’. Newton often chose old-world glamour locations, including elegant hotels and chateaux, which add to the sensuality of his images, as seen in this work. Presented in timeless monochrome against the lavish interior of the Hotel Nord-Pinus, the implied narrative is achieved through his acute awareness of context. Rampling, naked except for a pair of heels, exudes confidence and power as she stares back at her voyeur.


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

    • Provenance

      Staley-Wise Gallery, New York, 2007
      Christie's, London, Masterpieces of Design & Photography, 3 October 2017, lot 25

    • Exhibited

      Exposition des plus grands photographes du monde entier, Nikon Gallery, Paris, 1975, another
      Helmut Newton Mode et Portraits, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 15 November 1984 - 7 January 1985, another
      Portraits: Helmut Newton, National Portrait Gallery, London, 18 November 1988 - 12 February 1989, another

    • Literature

      ‘Exclusif: Charlotte nue pour Newton’, Photo, June 1974, p. 88
      H. Newton, White Women, New York: Stonehill, 1976, p. 89
      Helmut Newton: Mode et Portraits, Paris: Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 1984, pl. 10
      Helmut Newton Portraits, New York: Pantheon, 1987, p. 56
      Charlotte Rampling: With Compliments, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1987, p. 69
      Portraits: Helmut Newton, London: National Portrait Gallery, 1988, p. 49, pl. 37
      Helmut Newton: Aus dem Photographischen Werk, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1993, pl. 39
      Z. Felix, ed., The Best of Helmut Newton, New York: Thunder’s Mouth, 1996, pl. 39
      N. Angeletti & A. Oliva, In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World’s Most Famous Fashion Magazine, New York: Rizzoli, 2012, p. 220

    • 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.

      View More Works


Charlotte Rampling at the Hotel Nord-Pinus, Arles, France

Gelatin silver print, mounted, printed 2002-2003.
Image: 161.5 x 111.9 cm (63 5/8 x 44 in.)
Frame: 182.8 x 131 cm (71 7/8 x 51 5/8 in.)

Signed, titled, dated, numbered AP1/2 and annotated 'Certificate of Authenticity' in ink on an artist label affixed to the reverse of the mount.

Signed by Newton before his death in 2004, this oversized photograph is AP1 of 2 APs, aside from the edition of three. Only one other print from this edition, which is unsigned, has appeared at auction. As of this writing, the National Portrait Gallery, London and the International Center of Photography, New York each holds a smaller-sized print of this image.

Full Cataloguing

£250,000 - 350,000 

Sold for £441,000

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Head of Department, London

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

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London Auction 23 November 2021