These photos are from Steichen's Conde Nast years (1923 - 1937) and while he had made a name for himself in the art world, a divorce, the resulting need for cash and a muddled outlook (see how this all seems random, but is actually like pearls on a string?) made Conde Nast's offer to be the chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair look like a good gig.
The exhibit is beautifully installed and you can see Steichen's quick transition away from the dreamy techniques of his predecessor, Adolph de Meyer, to a crisper, cleaner and more dramatic style. Less gray. More black and white.
As those of us who take an interest in interiors have at least a passing acquaintance with fashion and art, the exhibit will have broad appeal. While most of the shots have striking backdrops a few claim Conde Nast's or Helena Rubinstein's apartment as their settings. And they are something to see. Even a clothes dummy like me stared in awe at the talent of Chanel and Schiaparelli. Did I mention the jewelry?
Saturday the 15th through July 25th. I'm also planning on attending Chanel and Her Rivals: Fashion in the Age of Steichen on June 12th from 1 - 2 by fashion historian Dr. Valerie Steele of FIT. April Watson, the Associate Curator of Photography at the Nelson, gave the tour yesterday and I think you would enjoy her presentation as well. She'll speak Friday, June 18th from 7 -8 on Steichen's influence on fashion and glamour.
While admission to the Nelson is always free, and most of the exhibits are as well, this is a ticketed exhibit for non-members. $8 for adults, $5 for students. For more information on the exhibit and all the events, click here.
This exhibit has been organized by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis; and the Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne; in collaboration with The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Mo. The exhibit here is supported by the Campbell-Calvin Fund and Elizabeth C. Bonner Charitable Trust for exhibitions. All images Edward Steichen and all are copyright Conde Nast Publications. From top, Joan Crawford wearing Schiaparelli, 1932; Lee Miller wearing a dress by Jay-Thorpe and a necklace by Marcus, 1928; Marlene Dietrich, 1934; Gary Cooper, 1930 and Ilka Chase, 1933. I have scanned the images so a few are cropped differenly than the originals.