The milestone exhibition that fashion, photography, and visual arts audiences alike have been waiting for the Jewish Museum of Australia: Gandel Centre of Judaica, in collaboration with PHOTO 2022 and the Helmut Newton Foundation, presents HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus from 29 April 2022.
Known for his eyebrow-raising images and voyeuristic worldview, which changed the fashion landscape forever, HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus will provide a new look at the life and legacy of the man behind the lens.
Celebrating Newton’s extraordinary personal story of reinvention and determination, the expansive survey will include never-before-seen details of his remarkable upbringing alongside highlights from Newton’s career as one of the most influential and visionary fashion photographers of all time.
Carefully curated by the Jewish Museum to explore the early years Newton spent working and living in Melbourne, this is a global story with a uniquely Australian influence.
Featuring a fascinating collection of letters, diary entries and photographs, the flagship exhibition will shine a light on Newton’s Jewish roots and early days in Berlin before charting his post-war life as an ‘enemy alien’ in regional Victoria and later work in Melbourne.
Before leaving for Paris in 1961, where his risqué photography saw him dubbed the ‘King of Kink’, Helmut would first begin to harness his skills in Melbourne.
With little money and no connections, Newton opened a photography studio on the top floor of a building in Melbourne’s Flinders Lane in 1946 and set about establishing a career as a photographer in fashion, social and theatre circles.
The exhibition will also include insights into Helmut’s relationship with his Australian-born wife, the acclaimed actress, artist, and photographer June Newton, who he met in Melbourne at this time.
Through this period, Newton forged a lasting bond with Melbourne (and with Australia, more broadly); a chapter of his life the exhibition will capture like never before.
Over the course of his fifty-year career, Newton would go on to push boundaries and challenge norms surrounding the depiction of femininity, sexuality and desire in the arts and the media.
He photographed countless high-profile women at the forefront of the world stage, including Grace Jones, Isabella Rosselini, Claudia Schiffer, and even Margaret Thatcher.
Helmut’s photography appeared in leading international fashion magazines from Vanity Fair to Vogue, with more than sixty covers for Vogue Italia attributed to Newton.
“We’re so looking forward to sharing HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus with our visitors – a program that will inspire, challenge and undoubtedly leave an imprint on all who journey with us,” said Jewish Museum of Australia Director and CEO, Jessica Bram.
“Not only will the exhibition showcase Newton’s iconic, trailblazing, and at times controversial works, it will also, and perhaps more significantly, share details of the lesser known aspects of Helmut’s Jewish heritage and his formative and ambitious twenty-year chapter here in Australia.”
With around 200 items on display, from original photographs and magazines – including the first edition of Australian Vogue (1959) – and a trove of personal artefacts and letters from the Helmut Newton Foundation, HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus will zoom into the unique story of Newton.
The result is a panoramic picture, never-before-seen, of the personal and historical forces that would go on to shape the life and career of the visionary photographer.
HELMUT NEWTON: In Focus
Jewish Museum of Australia, 26 Alma Road, St Kilda
Exhibition: 29 April 2022 – 29 January 2023
Entry fees apply
For more information, visit: www.jewishmuseum.com.au for details.
Image: Helmut Newton, Charlotte Rampling, St. Tropez, 1976, copyright Helmut Newton Estate – courtesy Helmut Newton Foundation