Lillian Bassman - Photographs New York Monday, April 4, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Peter Fetterman Gallery, Santa Monica

  • Literature

    Harper's Bazaar, April 1949
    Solomon, Lillian Bassman: Women, p. 17

  • Catalogue Essay

    Lillian Bassman’s stunning fashion photographs evoke a timeless elegance that combines her brilliant sense of the photographic frame with the delicate sweep of a painter’s brush. Under the tutelage of Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary art director, her photographs graced the pages of Harper’s Bazaar and Seventeen in the 1940s and 1950s. Bassman’s mastery of the darkroom helped her define an aesthetic that would set her apart from her contemporaries Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Using her negatives as a mere starting point, she would then blur, bleach and stain her prints in an effort to realize her full vision. The result, as we see here in her most celebrated work Across the Restaurant, Barbara Mullen, dress by Jacques Fath, Le Grand Vefour, Paris, 1949, are striking images that hover somewhere between a photograph and a painting. Taken at the historic Le Grande Vefour restaurant—a dining institution in Paris since it opening in 1784—Bassman's gentle use of light and shadow highlights the volume of the dress’s elaborate bow while elongating the line of her neck and outstretched arm. The photograph breathes with movement, texture and depth, capturing the model, the legendary Barbara Mullen, and her garments in the most flattering of ways.


Across the Restaurant, Barbara Mullen, dress by Jacques Fath, Le Grand Vefour, Paris

Gelatin silver print, printed later.
33 3/4 x 29 in. (85.7 x 73.7 cm)
Signed and numbered 9/25 in pencil on the verso.

$30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for $50,000

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs

Sarah Krueger
Head of Sale, New York

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245


New York Auction 4 April 2016