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  • Courtesy: Estate of Lillian Bassman © Estate of Lillian Bassman

  • Courtesy: Estate of Lillian Bassman © Estate of Lillian Bassman

  • Courtesy: Estate of Lillian Bassman © Estate of Lillian Bassman


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Loewe presents “Lillian Bassman: Brush Strokes” exhibition in Madrid

Loewe pays tribute to the American fashion photographer Lillian Bassman, with a new exhibition at the Loewe Foundation in Madrid. Titled “Lillian Bassman: Brush Strokes”, the exhibit provides an extensive overlook of Bassman’s awe-inspiring work that revolutionized fashion photography, offering viewers the chance to rediscover her world-renowned black and white portraits, her unique way of depicting the human body and her extraordinary sensibility. Bassman, who remained active until her recent death in 2012 at the age of 92, experimented at a young age with painting, drawing and dance, disciplines that have had a big influence on her photography. During her prolific career, she approached photography with a spirit of freedom and she even managed to create a new vocabulary of her own with her moody and often abstract images that broke with the rules of her time. When fashion dictated that women should be dressed with rigid garments, Bassman portrayed her models in more relaxed clothes that looked as if they were their second skin. Her sophisticated pictures still have the power to seduce with their immediateness, their timeless elegance and their unparalleled beauty, proving why she is considered to be one of the most charismatic and influential photographers of all times.

Lillian Bassman was born in a family of Russian Jewish emigrants. At the age of 15 she left home to live with Paul Himmel, with whom she remained until his death. In 1935 she joined the Federal Art Project, the visual arts arm of the New Deal employment-creation program. In 1941, she started working for Harper’s Bazaar and in 1945 she was appointed Art Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Junior. She received her first photography commission in 1948, and from then onwards she worked for the leading fashion magazines of the time. In 1951, she and her husband set up the Bassman-Himmel studio, where they worked as fashion photographers until 1971, when they closed the studio in order to continue with their personal photo projects. Her work was rediscovered in 1993, and at the age of eighty she began to earn widespread acclaim from museums and galleries. In 2004, Bassman received a Lucie award for her key contribution to fashion photography.

“Lillian Bassman: Brush Strokes” is organized by the Loewe Foundation and PHotoEspaña. The exhibition will be on view from June 5 to July 27, 2014, at the Loewe Foundation, 26 Serrano St., Madrid.