Peter Lindbergh - Photographs London Friday, May 19, 2023 | Phillips
  • “What is strong about Peter’s work is the humanity inherent in his photographs. What you notice is not just the models and the clothes, but the strength of the people themselves.”
    —Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons 

    Peter Lindbergh (1944-2019) is celebrated for his seemingly effortlessness and simplified aesthetic that radically changed the way in which fashion was presented on the printed page. In the supermodel boom of the 1980s and 90s, Lindbergh eschewed the heavy styling and excessive visual opulence that typified the era. Instead, his subjects were consistently depicted with minimal makeup and modest hairstyles, conveying looseness, confidence and a joyful naturalness. The artist’s humanist approach to fashion photography results in emotive portraits rendered in his preferred language of black and white: ‘Although humans see reality in colour, for me, black and white has always been connected to the image’s deeper truth, to its most hidden meaning.’ 


    Showcased as the lead image in the special feature ‘A Star Is Born’ in the December 1994 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, Lindbergh’s Moss as seen here is candid and relaxed with a strap of her pinafore dress loosely hanging off her arm. This enduring portrait perfectly encapsulates the accompanying description of Moss at this point in her career: 


    On these pages is a modern fairy tale retold for Christmas. It's about hard work, big breaks, transformation scenes, a love interest – and how the girl next door became a world-class cover girl. Welcome Kate Moss, starring in a fictionalized version of the story of her own life... 


    Why Kate? Because something in her face beams directly into the collective unconscious. You think you must know her from somewhere. You can imagine talking to her. She's gorgeous, but shrugs it off. She doesn't get done up... 


    The way she looks in a picture merges invisibly with the way she lives her life. She's the real, the true, the unbelievable, believable Kate. 


    Harper’s Bazaar, December 1994, pp. 140-141. 


    The similitude between this arresting portrait of Moss and Paul Strand’s Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, taken in 1951, was unintentional yet noticed immediately by Lindbergh: ‘At first, behind her, there was a wallpaper with flowers, and I had it removed, I didn’t like it. And I thought, “Oh, my God, that reminds me of someone, but who does it remind me of?” The young man immortalised by Paul Strand in Gondeville, Charente, in 1951.’ This connection is not surprising given Lindbergh’s admiration for mid-century photojournalism and social documentary photography. Moreover, it heightens Lindbergh’s masterful ability to further convey the authenticity of his subject as visible in the larger-than-life scale of the present lot. 



    Paul Strand, Young Boy, Gondeville, Charente, France, 1951.


    • Provenance

      A. Galerie, Paris, circa 2012

    • Literature

      'A Star is Born', Harper's Bazaar, December 1994, p. 140
      Peter Lindbergh: Images of Women, Munich: Schirmer/Mosel, 1997, p. 13
      The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion, New Haven: Yale U., 2009, back cover & p. 190



Kate Moss, Harper's Bazaar USA, Long Island, New York

Gelatin silver print, mounted.
Image: 148.5 x 118 cm (58 1/2 x 46 1/2 in.)
Frame: 184 x 153.5 cm (72 1/2 x 60 3/8 in.)

Signed in ink, printed title, date and number 1/3 on a Certificate of Authenticity affixed to the reverse of the frame.

This work is number 1 from the sold-out edition of 3 with one artist's proof held in the Peter Lindbergh Foundation.

Full Cataloguing

£70,000 - 90,000 ‡♠

Sold for £139,700

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London Auction 19 May 2023