Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information, including hours

Collection

All

Search

Western art

Photography

View More:


Title

Upstairs at Maxim’s, Paris

1978


Artist

Helmut Newton

Germany, Australia, France

1920 - 2004


About

‘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


Details


Date

1978


Media category

Photograph


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph


Edition

Print 3, Suite II, Edition No. 22/75


Dimensions

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.


Credit

Gift of Edron Pty Ltd - 1995 through the auspices of Alistair McAlpine


Location

Not on display


Accession number

335.1996


Artist information

Helmut Newton

Works in the collection

23


Shown in 2 exhibitions

Exhibition history


Referenced in 3 publications

Bibliography


Judy Annear, Discipline and Beauty - women, fashion, photography, Sydney, 1997.

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.).