Herb Ritts - Photographs London Wednesday, May 20, 2015 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Allene Lapides Gallery, Santa Fe

  • Literature

    Herb Ritts: Work, Boston: Little, Brown, 1996, n.p.
    Herb Ritts, Paris: Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain; London: Thames & Hudson, 2000, n.p.
    Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection, Atlanta: High Museum of Art; New York: Rizzoli, 2000, p. 193
    C. Churchward, Herb Ritts: The Golden Hour, A Photographer’s Life and His World, New York: Rizzoli, 2010, p. 16
    P. Martineau, Herb Ritts: L.A. Style, Los Angeles: Getty Publications, 2012, cover and p. 29, pl. 1

  • Catalogue Essay

    "I like large planes and spaces, areas of texture and light, like deserts or oceans or monumental places."

    This sublime image by Herb Ritts was created originally as part of an advertising campaign for Versace featuring the supermodel Christy Turlington. She is fanned by a divine halo of black silk, secured by tarpaulin, creating a goddess-like aura around her body. She is positioned bastion-like on the El Mirage Dry Lakebed, an arid landscape which could easily be mistaken for the edge of the world.

    Largely born from the very specific light of the West Coast, Ritts’s work is elemental , conjuring wind, earth, warmth. The bodies he depicts are beautiful, sensuous and close to nature. Often pieces of terrain or ocean ephemera are used as natural fashion fixtures. The silk dress in this image is the prop that frames and ornaments the lines of the body and adds drama. Ritts places his figure inside a canopy to provide perspective and scale within a confined space. Here, we revel in the delights of abstraction: the combination of sculpted silhouette, bleaching out of the body, exclusion of limbs and sleek cap-like hair.

    Another print from this edition is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Versace Dress, Back View, El Mirage

Gelatin silver print.
134.5 x 107 cm (52 7/8 x 42 1/8 in.); overall 160 x 132 cm (62 7/8 x 51 7/8 in.)
Signed, titled, dated and numbered 9/12 in pencil on a label affixed to the reverse of the flush-mount. One from an edition of 12 plus 3 artist's proofs.

£70,000 - 90,000 

Sold for £158,500

Contact Specialist
Lou Proud
Head of Photographs
+ 44 207 318 4018


London 21 May 2015 4pm