Explore the world of the iconic photographer at the Museum of Ara Pacis
“One must always live up to one’s bad reputation,” once said Helmut Newton, the German-Australian photographer during an interview about his work. Now, about a century after his birth, we can unequivocally affirm that he indeed upheld his revolutionary standing. The 250 photographs showcased at the Museum of Ara Pacis in Rome allow visitors to trace Helmut Newton’s personal journey into photography together while providing insight into the different worlds he captured. The exhibition will run until March 10 and aims to tell the story of one of the most iconic photographs of the 20th century.
The exhibition “Helmut Newton. Legacy” takes viewers on a chronological exploration of the photographer’s remarkable career through his most recognizable photographs while offering a sneak peek into some never-before-seen shots, such as his self-portraits from the early years shot at the legendary Yva studio, in the Republic of Weimar. It was here that Helmut Newton deepened his knowledge of fashion, portrait and nude. Moreover, visitors can expect to see other new works including portraits taken in landmark cities such as Venice, Milan and Rome. Notably, Helmut never resided in Italy but he was profoundly fascinated by the peninsula’s architecture and colours, Matthias Harder, Director of the Helmut Newton Foundation reminded.
Who is Helmut Newton and what’s the aim of the exhibition?
Although Helmut Newton’s works are globally acclaimed, not everyone is familiar with his origins and personal history. Born in Berlin, he bore the surname Neustädter before becoming a naturalized Australian citizen. As a Jewish person, he escaped the Nazis persecutions and found refuge in Australia in 1940. Here, he met his wife, the actress June Brunell, who would often feature in many shots. Newton’s passion for photography started at a very early age and, after collaborating with outstanding fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, he took a step forward opening his own studio in Melbourne in 1945. He travelled and showcased his photos all over the world, becoming an icon of style for his commercial works.
From the very outset of his career, Helmut Newton’s work was characterised by an exquisite blend of beauty, elegance and luxury without forgetting the everyday, realistic dimension. As Denis Curti, curator of this exhibition, noted : “The German photographer was not simply a provocateur, the King of Kink, as he was nicknamed. Helmut Newton was not so much or only the master of the female nude.” “He was above all a genius capable of reinventing the language of photography, daring something no one had done before in the world of commercial photography. Newton’s Big Nudes series, presented at the exhibition, are without doubt one of his most recognizable works.
And in this exhibition, multiple stimulus and artistic connections intertwine to captivate visitors and discover the worlds of Helmut through the harmonized power of beauty and aesthetics.
To seduce, entertain and excite, these are, in summary, the declared main aims of the exhibition and it is fair to say, it has achieved the intended result, leaving a lasting impression that extends beyond the gallery’s walls.
Museo dell’Ara Pacis
Lungotevere in Augusta, entry through via Tomacelli – 00100 Roma
Opening hours: Lun – Dom 09.30am – 07.30pm
Tickets at € 13,00 + € 1,00
Reduced € 11,00 + € 1,00