Exhibition of Famed Surreal Artist George Hoyningen-Huene Makes Singapore Debut

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Lee Miller and Agneta Fischer, Vogue’s Eye View, 1932 by George Hoyningen-Huene
Image courtesy of George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives

Dubbed the “lion of fashion photography”, George Hoyningen-Huene delivered some of the most striking portraits of the early twentieth century merging art, luxury fashion, music, and cinema. His innovative and experimental work was inspired by various artistic traditions including surrealism, modernism, and neoclassicism. His mastery of these themes would go on to inspire a generation of future photographers including Horst P. Horst, Irving Penn, and Richard Avedon. The cultural significance of George Hoyningen-Huene is highlighted in the exhibition “George Hoyningen-Huene: The Master of Élégance & Allureat” at ARTitude Galeria. Presented and brought to Singapore by Grupo Artitude, the first-of-its-kind exhibition showcases a retrospective of Hoyningen-Huene’s memorable works. Displayed for the first time in Singapore, the exhibition showcases a plethora of surreal black and white photographs, including portraits of artists, models, and society’s upper crust, as well as breathtaking images of the stars of Hollywood’s golden age.

The exhibition is in collaboration with the George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives and aims to shine a spotlight on Hoyningen-Huene’s versatile set of skills encompassing his use of studio lighting as well as being one of the first fashion photographers to shoot his subjects in daylight.

Who is George Hoyningen-Huene

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Image courtesy of George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives

Born in the year 1900 in St. Petersburg, Russia, George Hoyningen-Huene first made a name for himself as a well-respected fashion illustrator. His art teacher was the French cubist painter André Lhote. George Hoyningen-Huene eventually found his way to Paris where he met the renowned surrealist photographer, Man Ray (Emmanuel Radnitzky) leading to many collaborative series of fashion photographs in 1924. He would then find himself as one of the pioneers of modern fashion photography, capturing the style of Parisian haute couture fashion houses the likes of Chanel, Balenciaga and the jeweller Cartier. In 1946, Huene was persuaded to make the trip to Hollywood by director George Cukor, a move that would ultimately see Huene making the shift from fashion to cinema, photographing some of the twentieth century’s greatest movie stars including Ingrid Bergman, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Ava Gardner and Katharine Hepburn. It was there where he showcased his prowess and appreciation for taste, art and beauty.

The Surrealist Movement

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Portrait of the Dalis in ”l’instant sublime”, 1939
Image courtesy of George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives

The word “surrealist” was coined by the French avant-garde poet Guillaume Apollinaire in 1917 and suggests “beyond reality”. While in 1924, André Breton defined surrealism in part as “pure psychic automatism” and “the absence of all control exercised by reason, outside of all aesthetic and moral preoccupation”. In essence, surrealism is other-worldly creations derived from mysticism depicting dream-like states with the liberation of artistic expressions. Enter George Hoyningen-Huene, a photographer who understood the art of elegant simplicity and the escapism of surreal portraits.

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Image courtesy of George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives

His elegant black-and-white works and his comprehension of studio lighting set him apart from the black and white photographers that came before him who, until then, photographed outdoor landscapes and nature. His work encapsulated French avant grade with glamorous sensuality, understanding the human shape, silhouettes and plays on shadow and light. There is a reason why despite more than half a century after his death, his legacy of fashion and cinematic photography now is arguably more impactful than it was when he was alive.

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Divers, Horst and Lee Miller, Paris, 1930
Image courtesy of George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives

The George Hoyningen-Huene Estate Archives were established in 2020 by Tommy and Åsa Rönngren to preserve the photographer’s legacy, share his work with a wider audience, and inspire contemporary creatives. The “George Hoyningen-Huene: The Master of Élégance & Allureat” exhibition is part of that legacy and aims to showcase the works of Hoyningen-Huene to a new generation of young creatives and art enthusiasts in Singapore.

The George Hoyningen-Huene: The Master of Élégance & Allureat at ARTitude Galeria exhibition will run from 26 April to 24 May at No.9 Dempsey Road #01-11, Singapore 247697

11:00 AM – 19:00 AM Open Daily
Admission is free

For more information: visit www.grupoartitude.com or contact info@grupoartitude.com, +65 6592 9210

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