Helmut Newton

Artist Helmut Newton was one of the twentieth century’s most famous photographers; Newton was influential, intriguing and controversial, best known for his stark, black and white nude photography of women. German born Helmut Newton enjoyed international success with work featuring in magazines including French Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Paris Match, Playboy and Marie Claire. Some of Helmut Newton’s most famous artworks, films and books include SUMO, Cyberwomen, White Women, Sleepless Nights, Big Nudesand Frames from the Edge.

Helmut Newton was a Jewish Berlin native who fled Germany for Singapore in December 1938, a month after Nazi-led attacks on Jewish communities. He eventually settled in Australia, where he was interned after Germany invaded France; once he was released, he became a citizen, and then took up residence in Monte Carlo and Los Angeles.

Newton’s work carries a heavy erotic charge and combines humour with decadence, voyeurism and hints of sado-masochism, elements evident in his Cyberwomen series; nude portraits shot in the famous Los Angeles hotel, Chateau Marmont.

Helmut Newton shot a number of pictorials for Playboy, including pictorials of Nastassja Kinski and Kristine DeBell. Original prints of the photographs from his August 1976 pictorial of DeBell, 200 Motels, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation were sold at auctions ofPlayboy archives by Bonhams in 2002 for $21,075 and by Christies in December 2003 for $26,290.

He received a number of awards, including the Tokyo Art Directors’ Club Prize; American Institute of Graphic Arts awards; and Germany’s Kodak Award for Photographic Books. In 1990 Helmut Newton was awarded the Grand Prix National de la Photographie in Paris, and Officier des Arts, Lettres et Sciences in Monaco in 1992. Life Magazine gave him the ‘Life Legend Award for Lifetime Achievement in Magazine Photography’ in 1999.

Helmut Newton has exhibited widely and had major retrospectives in London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Turin and Moscow, as well as the Museum of Fine Arts Houston (MFAH).

Helmut Newton died in 2004 in California aged 83; his ashes are buried next to Marlene Dietrich at the Städtischer Friedhof III in Berlin.

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