Upstairs at Maxim’s, Paris
Germany, Australia, France
1920 - 2004
‘Upstairs at Maxim’s’ indulges in another of Newton’s obsessions – the mannequin, which he first used in 1968. They allowed him to stage daring tableaux for French ‘Vogue’, in which, as he said: ‘Using live models would have been too risky.’1 While ‘Upstairs at Maxim’s’ appears at first glance to be a simple shot showing off women’s clothes, the opulent interior with the vacant mirror and the equally vacant mannequin take on a pathos and eroticism due to the simple action of the man kissing the inanimate hand – which has been detached.
Klaus Honnef has commented that ‘the totally artificial atmosphere of traditional fashion photography is missing in Newton’s work, and we can begin to sense a latent imaginative realm of fantasies, dreams and nightmares’.2 Hence Newton’s ability to shock his audience as he made quite explicit the relationship between body, clothes, environment and voyeurism.
1. Newton H 2003, ‘Autobiography’, Gerald Duckworth & Co, London p 145
2. Honnef K 1988, ‘Contemporary photographers’, 2nd ed, ed C Naylor, St James Press, Chicago/London p 758
© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007
gelatin silver photograph
Print 3, Suite II, Edition No. 22/75
36.3 x 24.0 cm image; 40.5 x 30.3 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.l. verso, pencil "Helmut Newton". Not dated.
Gift of Edron Pty Ltd - 1995 through the auspices of Alistair McAlpine
Not on display
Unable to display image due to copyright restrictions © Estate of Helmut Newton
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 3 publications
Judy Annear, Look, 'Discipline & Beauty Women, Fashion and Photography', pg. 14-16, Heidelberg, Jul 1997, 16 (illus.).
Nicola Teffer, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'Fashion and celebrity', pg.169-187, Sydney, 2007, 185 (illus.).
Judy Annear, Discipline and Beauty - women, fashion, photography, Sydney, 1997.