11 September 2023


Zoom lecture

Frank Horvat, 1950-1965: Paris, the World, Fashion

A lecture on the exhibition at the Jeu de Paume

(until 17 September 2023)

with Sylvie Koneski

Frank Horvat - Givenchy hat, Paris, for Jardin des Modes, 1958.
Frank Horvat - Givenchy hat, Paris, for Jardin des Modes, 1958.

“For me, photography was photojournalism. My photos had to tell stories”


This is the greatest exhibition ever devoted to the renowned fashion photographer Frank Horvat who died in 2020. Through 170 prints and 70 archival documents, the exhibition focuses on the first 15 years of an exceptional career. Between 1950 and 1965, Horvat asserted his extraordinary personality as an author-reporter and fashion photographer. His ability to capture scenes of great intensity in sometimes forbidden places, in close-up, reveals him as one of the great modern photographers of the body and its intimacy. His work appeared in all major international magazines including Die Woche, Paris-Match, Picture Post, Le Ore and Life and his fashion photography in Elle, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.


Horvat moved to Paris in 1955, where he began by reporting on Parisian nightlife, strip-teasers, cabarets, music-halls and places of prostitution. Jacques Moutin, artistic director of Jardin des Modes, asked him to transpose his style of urban photography to the staging of fashion collections. Horvat’s most famous images include Tan Arnold at the Smoking Dog and the Woman in the Givenchy Hat. But Frank Horvat wanted to break away from the stereotypical codes of fashion photography. With the support of the editor-in-chief of the German magazine Revue, he embarked on a vast eight-month photographic expedition around the world, which took him to Cairo, Tel Aviv, Calcutta, Sydney, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, Caracas, Rio de Janeiro and Dakar between 1962 and 1963. In this last, major black-and-white reportage, he gives free rein to his imagination and personal inspiration in “always pursuing the chimera of intemporal photography”.

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