In ‘16th Arrondissement’ (1975), Newton subtly plays on the relationship between lady and maid. A forcefully placed hand on the side of the door and intense matching of gaze accentuates the suggestive tension of the image heightened by the threshold of the doorway. Taken in the notoriously affluent 16th Arrondissement to which Helmut Newton called home, his lens acts as a stairwell voyeur cloaked by the night – allowing us a tantalizing snapshot that plays on the viewer’s imagination of the narrative to come.
Helmut Newton (1920 – 2004) was born in Berlin Germany. He was a fashion photographer who revolutionized fashion photography by his trend-setting body of work. His passion for photography developed very early. He dropped out of school and took up a job with a famous German photographer Else Simon. But his ambitions suffered a blow as his family had to leave Germany due to the German campaign against Jews and Newton found himself in Singapore. But even here, he pursued his photographic interests, although he did not achieve success. Soon, photography took a backseat as Newton had to serve in the “Australian Army” for five years. But, just as the war ended and after years of being shunted from place to place, Newton finally found himself a free man, with the freedom to pursue his dreams to start a photo studio to work on fashion photography.
For the next fifteen years, he built up a reputation for himself. Arriving in Paris he was hired immediately by French Vogue, commissioned by Playboy, had a heart attack at 50, and lived in Monte Carlo. Then in a final fling – or what Karl Lagerfeld poetically described as “his last picture taken by himself”, he crashed his Cadillac on Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles and died on January 23, 2004, at the age of 83. His style was characterized by bold, sensual and visually arresting portrayals of women shot aesthetically, with impeccable technical details. A visionary, Newton was ahead of his time and his work receives more appreciation today than it did in his lifetime.
Newton considered his “Private Property” portfolio to be his most significant and provocative accomplishment. This collection of scarce, timeless prints was gifted to Norman Solomon, Newton’s agent, as a thank you in recognition of Solomon’s promoting Newton’s “Private Property” series of exhibitions in 1985. Each is an authorized historic photograph on gelatin silver paper and fully described on each Certificate of Authenticity, signed by Norman Solomon. The ownership rights of each historic print are supported by an original agreement with between Newton and Solomon in 1984, and supplemented by a further agreement with The Helmut Newton Estate in 2012. All prints have been preserved in protected and controlled atmospheric conditions.