Jeu de Paume pays homage to the late eminent photographer, Frank Horvat, in a new exhibition, running from June 16 to September 17, 2023.
Titled “Frank Horvat: Paris, le monde, la mode” (Frank Horvat: Paris, the World, Fashion), the exhibition is a must-see for enthusiasts of his eclectic oeuvre that spans fashion, landscapes, portraits, and street photography.
Horvat established his distinguished career primarily in the 1950s and 1960s and is known for revolutionizing fashion photography by incorporating a photojournalistic touch, often moving his models from the studio to the bustling city streets — an innovative approach for the era.
The exhibit unites 170 photographs and 70 archival documents, highlighting the initial 15 years of Horvat’s illustrious career (1950-1965). This retrospective offers fresh insight into the artist’s work and persona.
In 1951, aspiring to join Henri Cartier-Bresson’s Magnum photography agency, Horvat purchased a camera and journeyed to Pakistan and India to document everyday life. His distinct talent became immediately apparent as he captured intimate scenes and intense moments in otherwise inaccessible locales. Consequently, he earned recognition as a keen observer of the body and the confidential.
Returning to Paris in 1955, Horvat was drawn to the nightlife of the city’s cabarets, music halls, striptease clubs, and brothels. His camera faithfully recorded these lively, sometimes risqué, nocturnal activities.
Equipped with a new camera, Horvat began experimenting, capturing unique images of Paris, toying with contrasts, saturation, grain effects, and crowd dynamics. These distinctive images caught the eyes of artistic directors, propelling him into the fashion world.
Horvat’s fashion photographs soon gained notoriety — we owe him iconic images such as Monique Dutto exiting the metro, Nico at Bois de Boulogne, Ana Karina at Les Halles, and Tan Arnold at the Smoking Dog. His work graced the pages of top-tier magazines of the time, including Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar.
In the early 1960s, Horvat, the perennial traveler, sought to reclaim his freedom. He journeyed globally, producing a comprehensive photo report. These monochromatic photographs bear witness to his preferred subjects, inspirations, and fascinations, including unveiled bodies, nocturnal scenes, and the interplay between the photographer and his subject.
These images offer a dual revelation, shedding light on both the world around us and the artist himself.
For tickets, head to jeudepaume.org