Cecil Beaton: Photographs 1920-1970

Philippe Garner, Author, Cecil Beaton, Author, David Alan Mellor, With Stewart, Tabori, & Chang $85 (320p) ISBN 978-1-55670-433-8
Born in 1904 to a London timber merchant, Cecil Beaton transformed society and fashion photography from a realm of idealized beauty and artifice. The globe-hopping Vogue and Harper's Bazaar photographer, who died in 1980, created, with eclectic abandon, a vernacular of novel imagery that combined surrealistic settings inspired by Dali and De Chirico, neo-Romantic flourishes, baroque interiors and witty variations on fashion themes. From diverse influences--Virginia Woolf's Orlando, Pirandello's plays, modernist photography--Beaton took a sense of multiple identities, unstable gender and playful metafictionality. A remarkable compilation of images, this album includes shots of Picasso, Marlene Dietrich, David Hockney, Colette, Jean Cocteau, Johnny Weissmuller, Rudolf Nureyev, Lillian Gish and Marilyn Monroe. In their sensitive essay, British art historian Mellor and Sotheby's, London senior director Garner observe that Beaton was also capable of satirical grotesques, an observation born out in photographs of Augustus John, Mick Jagger and Dali. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
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