Rarely seen photographs of the Beatles and Jude Law will go on view at the National Portrait Gallery as part of its exhibition Vogue 100: A Century of Style (11 February – 22 May 2016), tomorrow, Thursday 11 February.
Prior to their loan to the Gallery, the two photographs have not been displayed in public since they were taken. The Beatles portrait has remained unpublished in Vogue’s archives until now and the Jude Law image was published in British Vogue in 1996, but has not since been shown in a gallery or museum.
Albert Watson photographed the then 23 year old Jude Law, along with other British actors and directors, at a studio in London for the March 1996 edition of British Vogue. The 20-page special, ‘Vogue’s film star salute: celebrating 100 years of British film’, was a tribute to British cinema and featured new photographic portraits of eminent 1990s British actors, directors, scriptwriters and producers.
Diana Vreeland at American Vogue commissioned the Beatles portrait by the young British Vogue staff photographer Peter Laurie in 1964. The idea was suggested to Vreeland by her British assistant art director, Nicholas Haslam, who was dispatched to Northampton to have them photographed after a concert. Scheduled also for publication in British Vogue, the moment came and went, and the portrait lay unpublished in the magazine’s archives.
The photographs will be displayed alongside the many faces that have shaped the cultural landscape of the twentieth century, from Henri Matisse to Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Damien Hirst; Marlene Dietrich to Gwyneth Paltrow; Lady Diana Cooper to Lady Diana Spencer; and Fred Astaire to David Beckham.
Other highlights of the exhibition include the entire set of prints from Corinne Day’s controversial Kate Moss underwear shoot, taken in 1993 at the pinnacle of the ‘grunge’ trend; Peter Lindbergh’s famous 1990 cover shot that defined the supermodel era; a series of exceptional Second World War photographs by Vogue’s official war correspondent, Lee Miller; a rare version of Horst’s famous ‘corset’ photograph from 1939, which inspired the video for Madonna’s hit song Vogue; and vintage prints by the first professional fashion photographer, Baron de Meyer.
British Vogue was founded in 1916, when the First World War made transatlantic shipments of American Vogue impossible and its proprietor, Condé Nast, authorized a British edition. It was an immediate success, and over the following ten decades of uninterrupted publication, the magazine continued to mirror its times and put fashion in the context of the wider world – the austerity and optimism that followed the two world wars, the ‘Swinging London’ scene in the sixties, the radical seventies and the image-conscious eighties. In the magazine’s second century, it remains at the cutting edge of photography and design.
The exhibition is curated by Robin Muir who is a Contributing Editor to British Vogue. He has arranged many exhibitions over the last twenty years focusing on fashion and portrait photography, including Under the Influence: John Deakin and the Lure of Soho at the Photographers’ Gallery (2014), Unseen Vogue: The Secret History of Fashion Photography at the Design Museum (2002) and Snowdon: A Retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery (2000). Muir has also curated major exhibitions for the V&A, the Museum of London, and the Yale Center for British Art, New Haven. His books include People in Vogue: A Century of Portraits (2003) and Vogue Model (2010).
Vogue 100: A Century of Style is organized by the National Portrait Gallery in collaboration with British Vogue as part of the magazine’s centenary celebrations.