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Iconic Images: The Vanity Fair Anniversary Book

Past display archive
20 October 2008 - 10 May 2009

Bookshop Gallery


Kate Moss by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, 2006 - © Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

Kate Moss
by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott, 2006
© Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott

This display marks the publication of a new book by the National Portrait Gallery, that traces the cultural history of the twentieth century and its leading personalities through the pages of a magazine.

The book, Vanity Fair Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images, celebrates ninety-five years of photographic history, from Berenice Abbott and Cecil Beaton to Mario Testino and Tim Walker. Bringing together the work of over eighty photographers, and juxtaposing Jazz Age luminaries with modern icons, the book encompasses the two incarnations of the magazine. The first era - from 1913 to 1936 - is dominated by figures from the arts, film and world affairs, including Pablo Picasso, Amelia Earhart, and Katharine Hepburn. The second era - from the reincarnation of Vanity Fair in 1983 up to the present day - includes Hollywood stars as well as writers, athletes and leaders of business and politics, with portraits of Robert De Niro, Arthur Miller, Madonna and Rupert Murdoch among others.

With more than 300 classic portraits commissioned by the magazine, a selection of which are shown here, Vanity Fair Portraits offers an overview of fame, talent and glamour since the early twentieth century.

Vanity Fair Portraits: A Century of Iconic Images by Graydon Carter, Editor of Vanity Fair since 1992, includes essays by Christopher Hitchens, journalist, literary critic and social commentator; David Friend, Editor of Creative Development at Vanity Fair; and Terence Pepper, Curator of Photographs, National Portrait Gallery, London.

Published to accompany the twenty-fifth anniversary of the re-launch of Vanity Fair in 1983 as well as a major touring exhibition initiated by the National Portrait Gallery, London which tours to Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA, 26 October 2008-1 March 2009 and the National Portrait Gallery Canberra, Australia, 12 June-30 August 2009.

A special slipcased edition of the book is available exclusively from National Portrait Gallery shops while stocks last.


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