Patrick Demarchelier 1992-2017 at Staley-Wise Gallery

Art Scene

Patrick Demarchelier 1992-2017 at Staley-Wise Gallery

Patrick Demarchelier is one of the most iconic fashion photographers of all time. In the exhibition Patrick Demarchelier 1992-2017 at Staley-Wise Gallery, a selection of works that have never been shown before will delight fans of his legendary eye. Born in the 1940s outside of Paris, Demarchelier worked his way through the industry in darkrooms, photographing friends and weddings, and eventually as an assistant for well-known photographers in New York City, one of whom was Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Patrick Demarchelier, Mariacarla and Anja Rubik, Italian Vogue, 2008, Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York / © Condé Nast                                         

Interest in Demarchelier’s work first came from magazines such as Elle and Marie Claire, and ultimately led to a 12-year collaboration with Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. His unique blend of fashion, portraiture and art photography achieved one of the most highly sought-after aesthetics in the fashion world. In editorial fashion and advertising, his career has intersected with elite internationally recognized brands and personalities. From Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint-Laurent, Chanel, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren to fast-fashion companies like H&M and Zara, Demarchelier’s photographic touch has for nearly a half-century added artistic allure to consumer goods, moving them beyond the status of commodity into the world of art.

Patrick Demarchelier, Gigi and Lily, New York, Vogue, 2016, Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York / © Condé Nast

Demarchelier’s images at Staley-Wise span fashion, sport and portraiture. However, despite differences in genre, the photographs are all imbued with a poise that seems to stem from the inner being of his subjects, while simultaneously permeating his picture frame. Top models including, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Gisele, as well as portrait subjects such as Princess Diana, RuPaul and Leonardo DiCaprio, are included in the work on view. In several of the images, Demarchelier’s subjects gaze directly into the camera with an almost primal elegance. A sense of elevated stature, as if all of his subjects are inspired to rise to the occasion, seems apparent.

Patrick Demarchelier, Richard Avedon, New York, 1993, Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York

Black and white and color photographs are featured in the exhibition. Studio haute couture work from both the mid-20th century and the last decade, basketball star Steph Curry, a portrait of a lion, as well as models posed in natural environments (forest, desert, and water), offer a range of imagery.

Patrick Demarchelier, Karlie Kloss, Natural High, Sweden, Vogue, 2014, Courtesy Staley-Wise Gallery, New York / © Condé Nast

Despite Demarchelier’s “high art” status, his fame is well-known in the world of popular culture through fashion related television and film projects like Sex in the City, America’s Next Top Model and The Devil Wears Prada. He has also shot for magazines outside of fashion, such as Rolling Stone and Newsweek.

Despite his long-term residence in New York City, Demarchelier’s widespread appeal earned him recognition in 2007 as an Officer in l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Literature) from the French Minister of Culture. Most recently, his legend seems to be under scrutiny with his own set of accusations to deal with in this era of the #MeToo movement. Several models have accused him of sexual misconduct, and Conde Nast publications recently put their long-standing relationship with the photographer on pause.

Patrick Demarchelier 1992-2017 is on view at Staley-Wise Gallery through April 14, 2018.