30 October 2006 - 8 April 2007
Balcony Gallery. Admission free
As part of the National Portrait Gallery's 150th Anniversary celebrations, this display presents new photographic acquisitions to the public for the first time. Coinciding with this year's Photographic Portrait Prize which showcases the best in contemporary portraiture, Photographs 1965-2006 looks back over five decades of excellence in a celebration of photography from the recent past and the present.
Divided into four separate sections, the display brings together a stunning collection of new acquisitions: Jorge Lewinski's Women of the 1960s; Bob Collins' studies of Artists at work in the 1970s; Portraits of the 1970s and 1980s featuring influential figures photographed by Francesco Scavullo, Robin Laurance, David Reed, Susan Lipper and Brian Griffin; and bringing us right up-to-date, contemporary portraits of inspiring young Britons in Exceptional Youth: Photographs by Emma Hardy.
Jorge Lewinski arrived in Britain from Poland in 1942 to serve with the RAF. Whilst studying in London, Lewinski took up photography as an amateur. In 1962 he started photographing leading British artists and here on show are his portraits recently purchased by the Gallery, of outstanding women of the 1960s. Subjects include eminent style-makers of the time from Mary Quant captured in one of her mini-dresses, to Observer journalist Katherine Whitehorn, shown typing up her influential, opinion-making columns. Diana Rigg, who had become famous for her role as Emma Peel in The Avengers is photographed in a friend's art gallery, while other subjects include Olympic athlete Lillian Board, jazz singer Cleo Laine and the academic Elizabeth Chilver.
Bob Collins began his career in photojournalism in 1956 working primarily in show-business and documenting the rise of singers, radio and television performers such as Tony Hancock, Tommy Steele and Shirley Bassey. He also regularly wrote for and contributed illustrated articles for photographic magazines. In the 1970s he turned his lens to documenting leading British artists. The resulting project, Artists at Work in the 1970s, has never been shown to the public before. It was bequeathed to the National Portrait Gallery in 2002, and the portraits of artists including David Hockney, Frank Auerbach and Leon Kossof, photographed in their studios between 1970 and 1971, provide a fascinating insight into their own working methods as well as a snapshot of the art world generally. The display provides an interesting link between Snowdon's 1964 art world survey, published as Private View and that of the late 1990s when Johnnie Shand Kidd published his book Spitfire on the YBA artists collected by Charles Saatchi and exhibited in Sensation at the Royal Academy.
Recent Acquisitions: Portraits of the 1970s and 1980s is a deliberately diverse display featuring the work of photographers Francesco Scavullo, Robin Laurance, David Reed, Susan Lipper and Brian Griffin, in which leading Britons are depicted in striking and memorable portraits. The display includes portraits of eminent literary couples - novelist Jilly Cooper and her husband, military publisher Leo Cooper posing for David Reed for the Sunday Times in 1972, and poet George MacBeth and novelist Lisa St. Aubin de Teran photographed by Susan Lipper - as well as a selection of outstanding solo portraits. Margaret Thatcher, photographed by Robin Laurance in 1977, is shown looking relaxed and at ease in her role as Leader of the Conservative Party; portraits of John Peel and George Martin donated to the Gallery by the photographer Brian Griffin are included; as are works by master photographer Francesco Scavullo, donated by the Motion Picture Group. These portraits are from the Song portfolio and they include famous shots of Debbie Harry, Sting and Mick Jagger.
Exceptional Youth : Photographs by Emma Hardy features a new portfolio of work specially taken for the National Portrait Gallery showing exceptional teenagers who have already made a positive contribution to British life in fields such as popular and classical music, sports ranging from football and gymnastics to BMX riding, as well as science and political activism. Subjects include Blaine Harrison of the Mystery Jets, violinist Nicola Benedetti, footballer Theo Walcott and actor Daniel Radcliffe. Emma Hardy's work has twice been featured at the National Portrait Gallery in the annual Photographic Portrait Prize, as well as in leading magazines and periodicals.
Of the entire display, incorporating these four distinct parts, Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs, says: 'The photographs collection at the National Portrait Gallery adds up to 300 new acquisitions each year, often including impressive portfolios from renowned international photographers. This display provides a great showcase for a selection of the key acquisitions from recent years.'
National Portrait Gallery opening hours : Saturday-Wednesday: 10am - 6pm (Gallery closure commences at 5.50pm) Late Opening : Thursday, Fridays: 10am - 9pm (Gallery closure commences at 8.50pm) Recorded information : 020 7312 2463 General information : 020 7306 0055 Website: www.npg.org.uk
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