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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist

  • Catalogue Essay


    The Paris born Jeanloup Sieff was at the apex of his fashion photography career when he shot Yves Saint Laurent in the nude to launch the advertising campaign for YSL Pour Hommes in 1971. The cologne was Saint Laurent’s first men’s fragrance (he had launched his first men’s collection the year before) and brashly challenged conventional taboos of male nudity in mainstream advertising of the era. Rejecting the prevailing trend of evoking machismo virility that was the hallmark of more down market scents such as Old Spice (introduced in 1937) as well as the luxury market Aramis (introduced in 1964), Sieff’s stark portrait underscores the societal trend to a more ‘natural’ appearance after the excesses of 1960s youthquake ostentation and fantasy had begun to seem passé. Instead, Sieff’s portrait, while novel in its blatant albeit discreetly desexualized nudity, presents a more vulnerable, non-threatening and androgynous Saint Laurent – his long hair, eyeglasses and a lithe hairless physique embodying the ‘look’ embraced also by pop stars of the day such as Mick Jagger. Appearing just a few years after the spontaneous mass nudity of the Woodstock Festival and the groundbreaking nudity in theatre productions such as Hair and Oh, Calcutta! – today Sieff’s portrait transcends it original advertising purpose and remains not only an icon of the era but also one of the seminal portraits of one of the most influential figures in the history of international fashion and culture.

23

Portrait of Yves Saint Laurent

1971
Gelatin silver print.
28.6 x 28.6 cm. (11 1/4 x 11 1/4 in).
Signed and dated in ink in the margin; titled in ink and copyright credit stamp on the verso.

Estimate
£4,000 - 6,000 

Sold for £4,375

Photographs

22 Nov 2008, 3pm
London