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The History Of Helmut Newton: What Happened in Europe-Global Images

The History Of Helmut Newton: What Happened in Europe

Helmut Newton Biography and news (click to Expand)

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Helmut Newton was a German photographer whose subversive approach to subject matter brought an edge to his editorial spreads. “There must be a certain look of availability in the women I photograph,” the fashion photographer said of his models. “I think the woman who gives the appearance of being available is sexually much more exciting than a woman who's completely distant. This sense of availability I find erotic.” Newton was born on October 31, 1920 in Berlin Helmut Newton’s Jewish heritage meant that he had to flee his home country during the Nazi rise to power. The artist settled in Australia in the 1940s, where he later set up a studio suited to his tastes for controversial scenarios and bold lighting.

Newton went on to photograph models Cindy Crawford, Raquel Welch, and Charlotte Rampling among others for several well-known magazines, including Vogue, French Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Playboy, and Elle although working principally for french designers. Though he continued to work commercially throughout his life, he began creating more personal work during the 1970s and Helmut Newton photography became known worldwide for its bold lighting and striking style. The young photographer from a Jewish family had escalated from the Australian Army to a photographer who had achieved international fame at a young age.

In 1999, his now-famous book “Helmut Newton SUMO”, was released by TASCHEN publishing house, chronicling decades of his most iconic work. Helmut Newton books, including SUMO with a limited edition of 10,000, are some of the publishers best sellers and most collected. The titanic book was an instant hit in the fashion photography world and sold the edition of 10,000 copies rapidly. The artist died in an automobile accident on January 23, 2004 at the age of 83 in West Hollywood, CA. Today, Helmut Newton works can be found in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Library of Australia in Canberra, and the International Center of Photography in New York.

Global Images is pleased to present an iconic collection of Helmut Newton prints in our collection. It contains images from Newton’s 1980’s “Private Property” exhibitions in London, Paris, and New York featuring 45 of what Newton considered to be his best work at the time. Helmut Newton photos are typically categorized into the three categories he followed throughout his career, celebrity, fashion, and nudes. Helmut Newton nudes were something he took up later in his career, but they have become some of the defining images of his legacy, cementing his popularity as one of the best photographers of all time. His works have enjoyed a steady appreciation in value since his death with Helmut Newton prices at auction recently setting a broke record of 1.8m US dollars in April 2019. The limited selection of images are sure to be a great investment for years to come as well as a beautiful addition to any collection. Helmut Newton art is sought after and collected worldwide, and we hope you enjoy this collection as much as we do.


Helmut Newton

During the course of a career spanning five decades, Helmut Newton became regarded as one of the world's leading photographers. A prolific image maker and genuine visionary – whose daring work bought him both fortune and notoriety – he continues to prove a major influence on modern photography and vision today nearly 16 years after his death.  


1920: born in Berlin as Helmut Neustädter; resides in Berlin-Schöneberg.

1930 until 1934: attends school at the Heinrich von Treitschke Realgymnasium in Berlin-Schöneberg.

1934 until 1938: resides in Berlin-Halensee.

1934 until 1935: attends the American school in Berlin-Schöneberg. After change of residence, attends secondary school in Berlin-Grunewald.

1936 until 1938: apprenticeship with the portrait, nude and fashion photographer Yva (Else Simon, neé Neuländer) in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

1938: flees Berlin via train at Zoo station towards Trieste, taking with him two stills cameras. Finds work in Singapore at the Singapore Straits Times.

1940: arrives in Australia and serves for five years in the Australian army. In 1946 becomes an Australian citizen.

1947: meets actress June Brunell, who poses as a model for him. They marry one year later.

1956: extended travels through Europe. In London acquires a one-year contract at British Vogue, which Newton quits after 11 months. Thereafter in Paris and return to Melbourne; contract with Australian Vogue.

1961: back to Paris, takes apartment in the Rue Aubriot in Marais quarter. Full-time position with French Vogue, occasional editorial photography for British Vogue and Queen.

1964: until 1966 editorials for French Elle.

1964: acquires a small house and vineyard in Ramatuelle, not far from St. Tropez, where Helmut and June Newton will spend their future vacations.

1966: renews contract with French Vogue under the new editor-in-chief Francine Crescent.

1970: June Newton (alias Alice Springs) begins her career as a photographer: when her husband is ill, she steps in to shoot a cigarette advertisement.

1971: Helmut Newton suffers a heart attack in New York. Convalescence in Lennox Hill Hospital, New York.

1975: first exhibitions of the commercially successful photographer: first solo exhibit in the Nikon Gallery in Paris.

1976: publication of his first volume of photographs White Women.

1981: Helmut and June Newton move from Paris to Monaco; they will spend the winter months in Los Angeles.

1990: awarded the French “Grand Prix National de la Photographie.”

1992: awarded “Officier des Arts, Lettres et Sciences” in Monaco as well as presentation of the “The Grand Cross of Merit” (Das Grosse Bundesverdienstkreuz) of the Federal Republic of Germany.

1996: commendation to “Commandeur de L’Ordre des Arts et Lettres” by the French ministry of culture.

2000: large retrospective for his 80th birthday in the New National Gallery (Neue Nationalgalerie) in Berlin that travels to London, New York, Tokyo, Moscow and Prague, among others.

2003: formal agreement on the establishment of the Helmut Newton Foundation Berlin with the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz).

2004: Helmut Newton dies in Los Angeles. The Helmut Newton Foundation is opened shortly following his death.

While he was continuing with his project for Shell in 1953, Helmut Newton showcased his first exhibition with a colleague of his, Wolfgang Sievers, in Melbourne, Victoria. The goal for the exhibition was to open up the fine art industry to the idea of fashion being used for betters promotions and larger sales. Although Newton was working in fashion through the early 50's, there's little information about the publications or the works he was featured in, despite his large portfolio and growing reputation at this time.

In January 1956 he was asked by Australian Vogue to photograph with an Australian designer and have the images published in their magazine. Although it was an Australian based publication, the issues and images were available globally, thus his work was beginning to reach a wider audience. His contributions to the magazine led him to a twelve-month contract with British Vogue in February 1957. He left Melbourne June 1957 to relocate to London.

Although this sounded like a dream come true, the reality was Newton and the Editor did not share creative visions. Newton recalled that the images he was taking for British Vogue were 'terrible and got steadily worse… nothing like the pictures which I had taken in Australia, which were much better'. He left around the 11th month of his contract and did what any creative soul would do in Europe: he moved to Paris.

He stayed for a few years to reconnect with his art and booked a few reoccurring jobs. However, in 1958 he hopped a flight back to Australia to work, once again, with Vogue. This time, his talent shown. Although the community of fashion photographers was growing in Melbourne, it was Newton who helped expand its reputation. Newton was already becoming idolized.  

The work that he left back in England and Paris was following him because of his talent and reputation. Not only was he working on local assignments, but he was being sent work from all over the globe. As a true self-critic, although he loved having work, he was not impressed with what he was creating. Still, he was growing. To accommodate, he left his small Melbourne studio for a larger upgrade.

In 1959, after realizing his potential of work, he and his wife June bought an apartment in Paris, and officially relocated to Europe in 1961. He only ever returned to Melbourne twice. The last time was in 1974 to visit June's sister, who was in poor health.

Although Australia helped shape Newton and his style of work, he doesn't attribute the country for his success. When asked what Australia taught him, he responded: 'Absolutely nothing!… They were formative years, but they didn't form me’.

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Helmut Newton is regarded to be one of the most famous and respected fine art fashion photographers in the world. His black and white photography highlights femininity, eroticism, heavy contrast, and all in all, high fashion. Global Images offers a gorgeous collection of vintage silver gelatin prints from Newton’s Private Property collection. Inquire for pricing and signed silver gelatin availability.

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