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Helmut Newton Returns to Rome

Valentino Bodywear Campaign, shot by Helmut Newton in 1983


On March 6th, the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome opened a major exhibition of Helmut Newton’s work, “White Women /Sleepless Nights /Big Nudes.” Visitors to Valentino’s Eternal City are urged to set aside time to take in the show: Newton, of course, is one of the most revered and influential fashion photographers, and the work in “White Women…” is taken from his first three monographs, the seminal White Women (1976), Sleepless Nights (1978) and Big Nudes (1981.) The iconic shots on display include the celebrated “Rue Abriot” series commissioned for Vogue France in 1975, and “Self-Portrait with Wife and Models,” from 1981. You see Newton progressing by leaps and bounds in his exploration of the eros of both fashion and the female form.


Mr. Valentino and Helmut Newton had a long and fruitful relationship. In the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum’s library, you can find Newton’s multi-page Linea Italiana editorial featuring the Valentino Haute Couture collection of Fall/Winter 1971/1972, as well as his Valentino ready-to-wear campaigns from 1983 and 1984. The Spring/Summer 1983 campaign shot of Patty Hansen lolling on the grass retains an alluring sense of mystery, as does the even more suggestive photograph from the Spring/Summer 1983 Valentino Bodywear campaign, of a woman in a car fastening¾or is that un-fastening?¾her bra. The images haven’t dated.


And Newton shot Mr. Valentino himself, as well: In 1987, he took a lively portrait of Mr. Valentino and his studio assistants at the Museo Nazionale Romano delle Terme. With the exhibition “White Women…”, Newton returns to Rome.


White Women/Sleepless Nights/Big Nudes is on display at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome through July 11, 2013.


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