Helmut Newton



Helmut Newton (1920-2004) was one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century, known for his unflinching, heavily eroticized images of women.  

Born in 1920 in Berlin, Newton’s Jewish background forced him and his family to flee Germany as the Nazis ascended to power. The artist settled in Australia in the 1940s, where he later set up a photography studio and gradually began working for the world's best-known magazines; Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Playboy, and Elle to mention a few.   

However, it wasn't until the 1970s that Newton established his signature aesthetic and modus operandi;  a willingness to depict a highly-erotic version of female confidence and sexual power.

Newton infused fashion photography with a carnal energy as opposed to the typically staid and stylized models evocative of the 1950s and beyond. Newton was also credited with helping fashion photography leave the studio and absorb/document the vitality of the street...and the bedroom. 

Like the best of Newton's work, this image has allusions to Film Noir, BDSM, and of course the Femme Fatale. "Prunella and Sylvie" features two women seated in luxurious surroundings. With identical blunt bobs, the women exude a sense of rigidity, positioned in matching, contrived poses with an almost mannequin-like presence. This female archetype reappears throughout Newton's oeuvre. 

This work is a Polaroid from the legendary photoshoot that produced the photograph "Mannequins, Quai d'Orsay". Images from this session are some of Newton's most celebrated and recognizable even though some were printed in black and white, others in color. It is our understanding that this photoshoot was commissioned by Playboy magazine, but curiously wasn't published in its entirety until much later (in their international editions). Iconic and timeless, one of the works from this series was selected as the cover of Newton's 2005 book, "Playboy: Helmut Newton."

Newton had a long-standing relationship and loyalty to Playboy. Although there were times in his career where he was under exclusive contract to Condé-Nast (typically one of the international versions of Vogue) he always maintained a clause permitting him to shoot for Playboy. 

Today, Newton's works can be found in the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the National Library of Australia in Canberra, the International Center of Photography in New York, and the Helmut Newton Foundation in Berlin, which was established in 2003.

Note: In April 2019, a new auction record was achieved for Newton's work. Sie kommen, Paris was sold at $1.8M. 

Questions about this artwork? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720

"Prunella and Sylvie, Quai d'Orsay, Paris"

Paris, 1977


Signed by artist, verso

3.75‚ÄĚH 3‚ÄĚW (work)

10"H 10"W (framed)

Very good condition

Hugh M. Hefner, Walter Abish et Gary Cole, Playboy Helmut Newton, Chronicle Books, San Francisco, 2005, pp. 116-123.

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