Portraits by Cecil Beaton at Pera Museum
The captivating portraits of Cecil Beaton, one of the most significant and multi-faceted photographers of the 20th century, are being exhibited in the Pera Museum, in collaboration with Sotheby’sThe Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation and the Pera Museum, in the context of its 10th anniversary celebration program, is presenting the works of Oscar-winning costume designer Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) until July 26.
Prepared in collaboration with Sotheby’s and curated by Terence Pepper, the senior advisor on photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the exhibition titled “Cecil Beaton: Portraits” includes portraits of artists, actors, writers, intellectuals and royalty from the 1920s to the 1970s, from the collection of Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Studio Archive.
Beaton worked in a variety of media ranging from painting to illustration, caricature, theatre and film costume design (winning two Oscars in the latter category for “Gigi” and “My Fair Lady”) as well as being a best-selling author, photographic historian, diarist and occasional actor. However, it is as a photographer that most critics agree he made his most important contribution to the arts.
Beaton’s photographs define a glittering generation, as from behind his camera lens he captured the great and famous personalities of the 1920s to the 1970s - from eminent artists, to iconic actors, influential philosophers and international royalty. These intimate portraits tell the story behind the public veneer of the subject, illuminating their private lives and relationships with Beaton himself.
Pepper explained how Beaton’s selected works were brought together: “...When approached by Özalp Birol, general manager of the Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Culture and Arts Enterprises, and the whole team of the Pera Museum and Joanna Ling, curator at the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s, with an agreed brief that we would create a new exhibition that contained many of the master works but also to add to them a number of fascinating and previously unseen works found through further research in the archive that Sotheby’s acquired in 1977, and in particular some of his lesser known works taken in color.”
Beaton was the most significant British-born photographer of the 20th century. His career stretched from the 1920s until his death in January 1980. Since then his work has remained in fashion and provides one of the most astute visual records of the people and society he encountered in London, Paris New York and his travels throughout the world. Beaton’s photographic legacy has continued to be featured regularly in books, magazines and exhibitions, highlighting the many facets of his achievements as a chronicler of his era.
The exhibition “Cecil Beaton: Portraits” is on display at the Pera Museum until July 26. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the Pera Museum.