The title of the exhibition clearly circumscribes a geography, that of the Côte-d’Azur to Bordighera, in Italy, which Helmut Newton photographed from the 1960s until his death in the early 2000s. Newton, Riviera is thus a pretext to explore the work of a major 20th century photographer in a different way, through now famous images, and others rarely presented to the public.
“I like the sun ; it is no more in Paris,” Helmut Newton reportedly told the officer from Monaco in charge of investigating his case. We are in 1981, Newton is sixty-one years old and he has established himself through daring series, constantly pushing the limits of what is acceptable, as one of the greatest fashion photographers of his generation.
His installation in Monaco is not retirement, quite the contrary. This period which runs from 1981 to 2004 (date of his death in a car accident) is one of the most prolific and, undoubtedly, the freest of his career. Monaco offered Newton an original setting for his fashion photographs. It is therefore not uncommon for one of the city’s construction sites to serve as the backdrop for a campaign he signs for a haute couture house.
It is also there that he produces many portraits of beautiful people, whether they have taken up residence in Monaco or are passing through. He also portrayed the stars of the Ballet de Monte-Carlo and the princely family.
In Monaco, Newton finally dabbled in landscape – a photographic genre that he had not approached until then – and developed one of his most personal series, “Yellow Press”, strange images, disturbingly glamour, inspired by crime scenes. While the Newton, Riviera exhibition is particularly interested in this period, it also a reminder of Newton’s old links with the Riviera. Thus, through 280 photographs, a solar Newton can be discovered with a look that is both ironic and fascinated by the elegant and easy way of life, a world of appearances and pretenses, of which he was both the actor and privileged witness.
Newton, Riviera catalog is co-published by the NMNM with Gallimard reproducing all the photographs exhibited and numerous texts and interviews signed by the curators of the exhibition, Matthias Harder and Guillaume de Sardes, as well as: Ivan Barlafante (director of Studio Fabio Mauri in Rome), Alain Fleisher (visual artist, filmmaker and writer), Simone Klein (expert and art historian specializing in photography), Jean-Christophe Maillot (Choreographer-director of the Ballets de Monte- Carlo), Charles de Meaux (visual artist and director), Edouard Mérino (founder of the Air de Paris gallery and collector), Catherine Millet (art critic and writer), Jean-Luc Monterosso (founder of the European House of photography in Paris and artistic director of the Contemporary Image Museum in Chengdu), Paloma Picasso (fashion designer) and Philippe Serieys (former assistant to Helmut Newton).
Curators: Guillaume de Sardes & Matthias Harder
Scenographer: Christophe Martin
The Newton, Riviera exhibition is designed in partnership with the Helmut Newton Foundation, Berlin.
Until November 13, 2022
Nouveau Musée national de Monaco (NMNM)
17 av. Princesse Grace Monaco