Erwin Blumenfeld: From Dada to Vogue, which will highlight a rare collection of early works by the legendary photographer many of which have never before shown in the UK. Beginning 5 October at Osborne Samuel, the exhibition will feature original photographs, collages, drawings and personal ephemera from one of the world's most influential fashion photographers.
The exhibition will trace the development of Erwin Blumenfeld's experimental photography practice from his early collages through to some of the most iconic fashion imagery gracing the covers of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Best known for his commercial photography, Blumenfeld also created avant-garde nudes, portraits and Dadaist collages that pushed the boundaries of the medium of photography and continues to influence photographers working today.
The exhibition invites visitors to engage with one of the greatest twentieth century photographers, whose legacy lives on in and to enjoy a seldom exhibited collection of some of the most captivating images ever created in the history of photography.
Erwin Blumenfeld (1897-1969) was born in 1897 in Berlin into a Jewish bourgeois family. After his father's death he entered an apprenticeship in the garment industry and then served as a soldier in France in the First World War. In 1918 he left to Holland and married Lena Citroen, opening a leather goods shop in Amsterdam in 1923 whilst also trying to become a painter. During the early twenties he participated in the Dada movement as a self-proclaimed head of the Dutch Dada movement, under the pseudonym of Jan Bloomfield. He began experimenting with photography in the early thirties, taking photographs of customers in his shop and later exhibiting his works at the Van Lier gallery in Amsterdam. When his business went bankrupt, he left for Paris in 1935 where he was introduced to the world of fashion photography and to French Vogue magazine, thanks to Cecil Beaton who admired his photographs. During World War II, Blumenfeld was interned in French war camps but managed to escape to the US with his family in 1941 through Marseilles. In New York where he was offered a contract by Harper’s Bazaar and after three years began freelance work for Vogue US. Within a few years he had become one of the most famous color fashion photographers in the US. He continued to work in fashion and advertising until the early sixties, when he devoted his time to writing his autobiography 'Eye to I'. He died in Rome in 1969.
Osborne Samuel Gallery is one of London’s leading galleries, long established in the heart of Mayfair. The gallery began as Berkeley Square Gallery and became Osborne Samuel when Peter Osborne and Gordon Samuel joined forces. The gallery specialises in Modern British Painting and Sculpture and has a high reputation for the quality of its exhibitions and publications.
The gallery has particular expertise in the work of Henry Moore and Lynn Chadwick and also exhibits the most important British sculptors such as Barbara Hepworth, Kenneth Armitage and Elisabeth Frink. Osborne Samuel has been dealing in photography since 2001, collecting contemporary and vintage prints as well as working alongside the gallery’s represented photographers.
Osborne Samuel, 23a Bruton Street, London W1J 6QG +44 (0)20 7493 7939
Opening Hours: Weekdays 10-6pm, Saturday 10-2pm