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    Sale 2113

    Photographs From The Collection Of Gert Elfering

    10 April 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 15

    HELMUT NEWTON (1920-2004)

    Tied-up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    HELMUT NEWTON (1920-2004)
    Tied-up Torso, Ramatuelle, 1980
    gelatin silver print
    signed, titled, dated, numbered '3/10' in pencil and Monte Carlo copyright credit and reproduction limitaton stamps (on the verso)
    18 5/8 x 18½in. (47.3 x 47cm.)


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    The figure in this forceful image is readily identified. The young woman is professional model Henriette Allais -- best known as the confrontational full-length 'Big Nude III' that has become one of Newton's most celebrated and recognisable photographs.

    The subject matter is less easy to unravel. At one level the picture might be read simply as a celebration of erotic fetishism. Yet, as ever with Newton's work, there are numerous features that contribute to the picture's power and to its witty perversity. Newton has chosen to photograph his model in hard sunlight outside his house at Ramatuelle near Saint Tropez. The textured wall, the strong shadows of the roof tiles and of the shutter latch are curiously, deliberately and disconcertingly out of key with the conventional closed studio world of fetish photography. Newton has chosen to pose Miss Allais in the harshest of lights, exploiting this with great skill to dramatically sculpt her torso. David Bailey once adapted Noel Coward's famous line to remark that 'only mad dogs and Helmut Newton go out in the midday sun.' Yet Newton always knew precisely how to utilise that raw sunlight to give to images such as this an extraordinary sense of heightened reality.

    Newton's knowledge and enjoyment of the history of art and of photography were considerable and he would often toy with an idea he had seen in a painting or photograph from another era until he devised a way to develop it within his own picture making. Man Ray was a point of reference on more than one occasion for Newton and it is interesting to compare 'Henriette Ficelée', as this image is alternatively known, with the Surrealist's perverse sculpture of a classical torso trussed with string that he titled 'Vénus Restaurée'. Newton has given his own mischievous twist to a theme that in one form or other can be traced back through the history of artistic expression.

    Provenance

    Galerie Rudolf Kicken


    Pre-Lot Text

    Newton has given his own mischievous twist to a theme that in one form or other can be traced back through the history of artistic expression.


    Literature

    Lamarche-Vadel, Helmut Newton, Editions du Regard, 1981, p. 31;
    Vogue, Paris, November 1981, p. 169;
    Lagerfeld, Helmut Newton 47 Nudes, Thames and Hudson, 1982, p. 31;
    Helmut Newton Aus Dem Photographischen Werk, Schimer Art Books, 1993, pl. 64.