Introduction by Horst. Foreword by Janet Flanner. Notes on the plates by Valentine Lawford. Photographs by Horst and George Hoyningen-Huene.
London. The Bodley Head. 1971. First edition. British edition. Cloth-bound hardback, dust jacket. 192 pages. 162 b&w photographs. 285 x 230mm (11¼ x 9"). 1.2kg. 0370013816. English. Very good; slight surface wear to dust jacket, slight yellowing to jacket, price-clipped; no inscriptions.
'Like any man recalling a vanished period of history which he once knew well, I can only conclude that they were really some people in those days...' (Horst in the Introduction).
A marvellous album of photographic portraits of the leading lights of the 1930s art scene collated by Horst. Writers, artists, musicians, ballerinas, actors, opera singers, film stars, fashion designers and the odd "celebrity" are represented, with short accompanying biographies. The sitters include Gertrude Stein, The Vicomtesse de Noailles, Jean Cocteau, Misia Sert, Lee Miller, Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, Marlene Dietrich, Carole Lombard, Greta Garbo, Dame Edith Sitwell, Duff and Diana Cooper, Noel Coward, Gertrude Lawrence, Gracie Fields, Barbette, Tallulah Bankhead, Main Bocher, The Duchess of Windsor, Chanel, Schiaparelli, Elsie de Wolfe, Elsa Maxwell, Josephine Baker, Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Hutton, Dali, Leonor Fini, Princess Natalie Paley, Cecil Beaton, Visconti, Cole Porter, Diana Vreeland, Mae West, Bette Davis, Gary Cooper, Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn... and the list goes on.
The photographs are by Horst himself or by George Hoyningen-Huene, who bequeathed his photographic collection to Horst upon his death in 1968. The book acts as a homage and celebration of his 'mentor and friend' and of the time they spent together in the 1930s.
Horst's introduction to the book provides a a very personal, nostalgic view of the decade that shaped him as a photographer. In 1930 he arrived in Paris and met Hoyningen-Huene, who introduced him to the art of photography. In 1931 he took his first shots for Vogue. Over the next few years he established his own personal style and his place as one of the leading fashion and society photographers working on both sides of the Atlantic. In his introduction Horst praises the collective effort and spirit of the artists, actors, writers, musicians and creatives of the 1930s. He makes special mention of his admiration for Gabrielle Chanel and for the American film stars who were beginning to make their mark on the Parisian art scene. He also praises the Americans for their acceptance of so many emigres, including himself, following the outbreak of the war.
Janet Flanner, the long-time Paris correspondent of the New Yorker, provides the foreword to the book. Flanner had given Horst a very favourable review for his first exhibition at the Galerie La Plume d’Or in Paris in 1932 and it was this review that propelled him into the international scene and secured the interest of Conde Nast in his work. Her introduction profiles the beau monde of Paris in the 1930s, a Proustian society in its last throes before the outbreak of World War II.