Edward Steichen: In High Fashion. The Conde Nast Years 1923-1937
Edward Steichen was already a famous painter and photographer when, in 1923, he was offered one of the most prestigious and most lucrative positions in photography – that of chief photographer for Condé Nast’s Vogue and Vanity Fair.
Over the next fifteen years, Steichen produced an oeuvre of unequalled brilliance, dramatizing and glamorizing contemporary culture and its achievers – in politics, literature, journalism, dance, theatre, opera and, above all, the world of high fashion.
The 1920s and 1930s represent the high point in Edward Steichen’s photographic career, and the work he did for Condé Nast will stand forever among the most striking creations of 20th-century photography. The list of Steichen’s portraits is astounding in its range.
Steichen created a new style of fashion photography: his crisp, detailed, high-key style is a strong wind felt in the field to this day – George Hoyningen-Huene, Horst P. Horst, Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe and Bruce Weber are only his most illustrious descendants.
The Steichen archive at Condé Nast contains more than two thousand original vintage prints. A few of the images are well-known and indeed feature as iconic images in various histories of photography. Until now, however, no more than a handful of these prints has been exhibited or published.