'Helmut Newton' in San Gimignano

60 shots to discover the career of one of the greatest photographers of our times

From 18 April 2019 to 01 September 2019

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From 18 April to 1 September 2019 the Galleria d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea in San Gimignano hosts a must-see exhibition on Helmut Newton, one of the world's greatest photographers. A retrospective offering a broad overview of the long career of the German photographer, a journey through some of his iconic shots, images that have defined an era. If you were already planning to spend a few days in Siena and its beautiful surroundings next summer, you should definitely include San Gimignano and Helmut Newton exhibition in your itinerary. This way on top of visiting one of the most beautiful medieval Tuscan jewels, also known for its 15 towers, you will be captivated by the magic of Helmut Newton’s photos.



Helmut Newton, born Helmut Neustädter, was born in Berlin on 31 October 1920. He was introduced to photography by Elsie Neulander, a photographer specialized in fashion, portraits and nudes. During the period of the Nazi regime he was forced to emigrate to Australia and also lived in Paris, Los Angeles and Monte Carlo. He shot the first photos for the English version of Vogue in the 1950s but reached the peak of his fame in the 1960s and 1970s. An achievement that proved to be controversial as some considered him a genius who had elevated fashion photography into a form of art but others thought that his photographs had exceeded all decency limits. Certainly, his character did not resemble what one would call a ‘nice boy’ so much so that he himself quoted: ‘one must always be up to his bad reputation’. There is no doubt some of Helmut Newton’s portraits veer towards sadomasochism, voyeurism and homosexuality, and received much attention at the end of the 1960s. His career has always been characterized by a strong inkling towards provocation where female nudes always played an important role. Much of his artistic work was also dedicated to poignant portraits that captured many famous people.



The exhibition in San Gimignano on Newton consists of 60 photographs that are intended to accompany the visitor on an ideal journey through the stages of the career of the great German photographer. It was curated by Matthias Harder, curator of the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin. The exhibition opens with one of the most famous portraits, that of Andy Warhol which he created in 1974 for Vogue while the most recent work presented is the photograph of Leni Riefenstahl taken in 2000. During this long timespan Newton produced some of the most innovative photos of his time. The Newton exhibition in San Gimignano will also show some twenty-five photographs depicting famous people of the 20th century such as Gianni Agnelli (1997), Paloma Picasso (1983), Catherine Deneuve (1976), Anita Ekberg (1988), Claudia Schiffer (1992) and Gianfranco Ferrè (1996). Surely in the career of Helmut Newton portraits were very important but another fundamental and well-known production is represented by fashion photography. Consequently, the San Gimignano Helmut Newton Exhibition showcases a number of campaigns produced for Mario Valentino and Tierry Mugler in 1998. These are true iconic photographs of those years. Equally iconic are his nudes and in general the photos dedicated to women. He has framed, with his art, leading female figures such as Ornella Muti, Catherine Deneuve and Carla Bruni just to name a few. It is especially during his time in Paris in the 1980s that Helmut Newton photography began to defy stereotypes and taboos in an irreverent way. Since the mid-1980s his shots took a turn towards a true photographic narration. The black and white campaigns for Villeroy & Boch (1985) and a series of black and white photos of Monica Bellucci for Blumarine, as well as some shots for a sports magazine calendar with two women in bikinis portrayed in a desert, are certainly among the most representative examples of this narrative phase. In the last years of his career Newton started numerous collaborations with the German, American, Italian, French and Russian editions of Vogue, with photographic settings located mainly in Montecarlo, where he lived. In the San Gimignano Helmut Newton photography exhibition in you can also admire some of the shots in his privileged location of his latest years, his home in Monaco that is, where models and cars transformed the place into an original studio. Undoubtedly, among the photo exhibitions in Tuscany, the one dedicated to the great German photographer is one of the most important and most anticipated. In short, don't miss the Helmut Newton exhibition in San Gimignano because it is a unique opportunity for all photography enthusiasts but also for those who want to learn more about a charismatic figure between the ‘70s and ‘90s.



The gallery often showcases important events in San Gimignano dedicated to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and contemporary times. It is named after the Milan-based painter Raffaele de Grada who, having traveled throughout Europe and exhibited his works at the main exhibitions of the time, chose San Gimignano as his settling place. The permanent collection includes works by painters from the nineteenth century in Tuscany and the twentieth century. The ticket of the Helmut Newton exhibition will also allow you to visit this interesting and precious art collection.


Dear photography buffs, get ready to come to Tuscany and admire one of the greatest photographers of our time. Splendid San Gimignano awaits you until September 1, so don’t waste time and start planning. And since you are in San Gimignano, why not book our private tour of San Gimignano so you can take some shots of its beautiful views and discover many interesting things about this wonderful medieval village?



Location: Gallery of modern and contemporary art – Via Folgore, 11

Dates: from April 18 to September 1, 2019

Opening times: every day from 10.00 to 19.30


By Insidecom Editorial Staff