Lillian Bassman

New York

May 12 – July 15, 2016

The Cost of Living, Barbara Mullen, New York, Harper's Bazaar
March 1950

Suzy Parker, c. 1950

Touch of Dew, Lisa Fonssagrives, New York, Harper's Bazaar, May 1961

Margie Cato, (Test Shoot), New York, c. 1950

German Vogue, 2005

Looking Backward - The Evenings Ahead, Betty Biehn, 1956

In This Year of Lace, Dovima, Dress by Jane Derby, The Plaza Hotel, New York, Harper's Bazaar, October 1951

In This Year of Lace, Dovima, Dress by Jane Derby, The Plaza Hotel, New York, Harper's Bazaar, October 1951

Tra Moda e Arte: Teresa in a gown by Laura Biagiotti and shoes by Romeo Gigli, 1996

"Night Bloom," Hat by Christian Lacroix Haute Couture, Olga Pantushenkova, Paris, The New York Times Magazine, 31 March 1996

Southwest Passage - Sunset Pink: Model in pajamas by Kickernick, Harper's Bazaar, 1951

Tunic Suit, Sunny Harnett, suit by Charles James, July 1955

Tea with Carmen, c. 1950

Carmen Having Tea, 1950

Silk Organdie, Embroidered and Printed, Barbara Mullen in a gown by Irene, New York, Harper's Bazaar, January 1956

It's a Cinch, Carmen, lingerie by Warner's, 1951

Kronung des Chic, Jada, dress by Thierry Mugler, 1998

Night Bloom, Anneliese Seubert, ball gown by John Galliano for Haute Couture Givenchy, Paris, 1996

Mary Jane Russell, New York, Harper's Bazaar, 1950

Kecia, 1967

Margie Cato, Junior Bazaar, c. 1950

Sunny Harnett, Harper's Bazaar, c. 1950

"The V-Back Evenings", Dress by Trigere, Suzy Parker, New York, Harper's Bazaar, July 1955

Basque Slip by Peter Pan, 1955

Carmen, dress by Charles James, 1950's

Toreador 1, Barbara Mullen, Harper's Bazaar, c. 1950

Barbara Mullen, New York, c. 1958

Barbara Mullen, aboard Le Bateau Mouche, Chanel Advertising Campaign, Paris, 1960

Golden Fox, Blue Fox, Marilyn Ambrose, Boa by Frederica, New York, Harper's Bazaar, November 1954

Kronung des Chic, Jada, hat by Philip Treacy, German Vogue, 1998

Anneliese Seubert, 1996

More Fashion Mileage Per Dress, Barbara Vaughn, dress by Filcol, New York, February 1956

Betty Threat, New York, Harper's Bazaar, c. 1957

Anne Saint-Marie, New York, 1958

Mink Royal Pastel and Midnight Blue, Barbara Mullen, New York, Harper's Bazaar, March 1950

Black and White, Mary Jane Russell, Le Pavillon, New York, Harper's Bazaar, April 1950

Untitled 139, n.d.

The Art of Fashion, Neiman Marcus, 1996

The Line Lengthens, model unknown, lingerie by Formfit, 1955

In Full Swing, Shalom Harlow, skirt and sweater by Oscar de la Renta, 1998

Harper's Bazaar, c. 1947

Press Release

Opening Reception: Thursday, 12 May
6PM - 8PM

Edwynn Houk Gallery is pleased to announce its exclusive representation of the Estate of Lillian Bassman and its first exhibition of the artist's photographs. On view 12 May – 8 July, the show will feature more than 30 photographs tracing the legendary fashion photographer's stylistic development from early vintage prints to her reinterpreted prints made in the 1990s.

A seminal figure in the history of fashion photography, Lillian Bassman's photographs appeared on the pages of Harper's Bazaar from the late 1940s through the 1960s. She trained and worked under famed art director Alexey Brodovitch, eventually becoming art director of Junior Bazaar in 1945, until the magazine's closing in 1948. While working as art director, Bassman regularly hired photographers such as Richard Avedon, Arnold Newman, and Robert Frank. By 1946, Bassman began taking her own photographs and swiftly transitioned from art director to fashion photographer. Her first photograph was published in Bazaar in 1947 and her first editorial story in 1948.

Known for blurred silhouettes, exaggerated gestures, and unusual compositions, Bassman's photographs illustrate the mystery and glamour of the modern woman. Transforming her images with bleaching and toning techniques in the darkroom, she introduced a new aesthetic and revolutionized fashion photography.

In the early 1970s, disillusioned by the state of the commercial world of fashion photography, Bassman left the industry and destroyed most of her negatives and prints. Twenty years later, she discovered a box of negatives and began re-interpreting them. Using the darkroom, and later the computer, she would change the original framing, accentuate contrast and blurriness and retouch the background. These singular images led to a renewed interest in her work among editors, curators, and collectors.

Born in 1917 in Brooklyn, Lillian Bassman worked as an artist's model, a textile designer, and a fashion illustrator before joining Harper's Bazaar in 1941. She lived and worked in New York until her death in 2012. Solo exhibitions of her photographs have been presented in London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Munich, New York, and Paris. In 1996, Bassman received the Agfa Life Time Achievement Award and the Art Directors Club Award. Her images have been reproduced in multiple monographs including Lillian Bassman: Lingerie (2012), Lillian Bassman:Women (2009), and Bassman and Himmel, which accompanied a major retrospective at Haus der Photographie Deichtorhallen Hamburg in 2009. Bassman's photographs are held in major public and private collections worldwide.

For more information on Lillian Bassman, please contact Ali Price at ali@houkgallery.com.