New York. Alfred A. Knopf. 1984. Hardback, dust jacket. 399 pages. 299 photographs including 24 full-page colour plates. 300 x 260mm (11¾ x 10¼"). 2.5kg. 0394521714. English. Very good; dust jacket has small nicks on the corners, the head of the spine, and along the top edge, rear lower corner bumped, price-clipped; internally clean with no inscriptions.
'Horst's name is synonymous with high style. In a meteoric career, he dominated the most glamorous social and artistic circles of the century: Paris in the thirties, New York in the forties, and everywhere from the fifties on.
We see here the central figures of his world: Janet Flanner, Noel Coward, Luchino Visconti, Jean Cocteau, Garbo, Dietrich... the models he made famous (among them Dovima, Suzy Parker, Verushka)... the most brilliant work of three generations of couturiers, from Mainbocher and Schiaparelli to Balenciaga, Valentino and Karl Lagerfeld... and the mansions and palaces whose extravagant inner life had been a secret until they were opened to Horst and his camera.
A close friend of Horst, Valentine Lawford was himself a member of this glittering world. His book includes this great photographer's own testimony about his art: his subjects, his techniques, the changing fashions - and the changing of the guard through fifty years of English, French and American Vogue.' (from the publisher's press release).
This remains the definitive book on Horst, acting as both a biography and a survey of his entire oeuvre. According to the blurb on Vogue's Book of Houses, Gardens, People published in 1968 Horst was "currently working on an autobiography". This project was never realised and the task of writing a biography was passed on to Horst's life-long partner, Valentine Lawford. Horst had met Lawford, a British Diplomat, in 1938 and the couple lived together until Lawford's death in 1991. Because of the close connection between writer and subject Horst's biography is fully comprehensive and is replete with Horst's own memories and reminiscences. It covers Horst's youth in Germany, his time in Paris and New York, his work during the war years, and the post-war years working around the globe.
As well as being the most exhaustive text on Horst, it is also the book that contains the most illustrations of his work. It reproduces all the iconic photographs but also many images that have only ever been published in this volume. There is a good selection of colour images, something which is absent from most of the published catalogues. As well as Horst's professional photographs, Lawford has included several more informal snapshots.