87. Frank Horvat
Givenchy Hat (A) (For Jardin des Modes, Paris) (1957/ 58)
Signed, annotated Pour Serge Henri Valcke, beaucoup j’estime and dated 10.12.83 on the reverse
Gelatin silver print, 22.2 x 29.8 cm (image size) / 39.4 x 39.8 cm (sheet size)
Collection Serge-Henry Valcke, Amsterdam, acquired from the artist
Frank Horvat is best known for his fashion photography, published between the mid-1950s and the end of the 1980s, but his photographic opus includes photojournalism, portraiture, landscape, nature, and sculpture. This particular photograph was shot in Paris for Jardin des Modes, a magazine that contained the most elite haute couture. It presented a challenge for Horvat, as he was mainly a photojournalist working with a 35mm camera and available light. His desire for a “more natural” look made his approach to photography quite unique, especially in the context of fashion photography. The philosophy behind his working methods focused on achieving a sincere approach to photography: “Photography is the art of not pushing the button… What I don’t photograph kind of accumulates in me like a desire to photograph. So not pressing the button means accumulating some energy or some desire, which is unspent, and which may come up next time.”
What makes this work on offer so distinctive is the way Horvat creates such a captivating image with what seems to be so little effort. The image is not framed in a particularly engaging manner. The overall lighting style is soft yet quite dramatic through his use of contrast. Horvat uses natural lighting with a stark contrast of black and white, ultimately creating a very inquisitive mood. It appears as though there is a single light source coming from directly at eye level through a window, made noticeable by the shadow shapes. Although he shot this photograph at eye level, Horvat creates an intriguing composition, taking the viewer on a posh experience.
* Condition report available upon request