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Frank Horvat

Wednesday 11 May - Sunday 15 May 2022
ALL DAY
Somerset House

1955, London, UK, self-portrait in Brick Lane market © Frank Horvat

 

Photo London presents a homage to the legendary photographer Frank Horvat (1928 – 2020) curated by his daughter Fiammetta Horvat as part of this year’s Public Programme. 

Throughout a career that spanned over seventy years, Frank Horvat was constantly experimenting and adapting to new technologies. His work frequently transcended the prevailing photographic orthodoxy. The result is image making of the highest order: work that is diverse and considerably more complex than it seems at first glance.

In his fashion work Horvat created a realistic style of picture-making that revolutionised the development of fashion-based photography in England, France, and the United States. He stylistically combined realism and artifice, movement, and inventive locations, which won him
immediate success as a French fashion photographer. His photographs have appeared in leading European and American magazines including Life, Elle, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Jardin des Modes.

 

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New York USA, Harper’s Bazaar, 1961 © Frank Horvat

 

Horvat’s work is represented in the permanent collections of many prestigious museums including Bibliothèque Nationale, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Kunst-bibliothek, Museum of Modern Art, and the George Eastman House, V&A and numerous other collections. His
archives are preserved by the Frank Horvat Studio, in his original studio in Boulogne-Billancourt, France. 


Commenting on the Photo London exhibition its curator, Horvat’s daughter Fiammetta who runs the Studio, says: ‘Thanks to Photo London, my father’s work will be celebrated and remembered in a city that mattered greatly to him. Coming back from years spent in Pakistan and India he
settled in London in the late ’50s and always recalled this period as the most exotic adventure he had experienced. The British people remained a mystery to him till the very end. I hope this introduction to him will mark the beginning of a new dialogue with the United Kingdom. For the
London exhibition, we present two emblematic series that are a perfect illustration of Frank Horvat’s approach to photography: his fashion images where he introduced a sense of naturalness and spontaneity into the very sophisticated and mannered world of fashion magazines; and his images of Parisian cabarets where he finds poetry in the seedy nightlife of the city. In both worlds, he proves photography can transform and transcend reality. What always matters is the eye and the intention of the photographer.’

 

1959, Paris, France, Jardin des Modes, Monique Dutto at métro exit © Frank Horvat

 

The Photo London exhibition is a timely re-introduction of Horvat’s work to the London audience ahead of a major retrospective on the photographer’s work at the Jeu de Paume, Tours, that opens in June. 


Welcoming this important addition to the Fair’s public programme Photo London Founders Fariba Farshad and Michael Benson commented: ‘We are thrilled to be able to present the work of Frank Horvat in London for the first time in many years. We are deeply grateful to Initial Labo
who have supported the show and to Frank Horvat’s daughter Fiammetta who has curated a wonderful tribute to her late father’s work. Thanks to them we are able to offer the London audience this once in a generation glimpse of the Horvat’s extraordinary and expansive oeuvre.’

 

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