A Tribute to F.C. Gundlach
Photographer and Collector

Christies Paris

3 to 8 November 2018

F.C. Gundlach arrives in Paris at the beginning of the 1950s. A breathless, restless metropolis and an attraction for cultural workers from all over the world. For the network of metropolitan bohemians, cafés such as the "Flore" are meeting places and centers of literary and philosophical exchange. The young photographer F.C. Gundlach finds his world of motifs in the city, between bistros and boulevards and among the protagonists of the cultural scene. The fashionable metropolis is, of course, also a fashion city and Parisian haute couture becomes his defining influence; here F.C. Gundlach finds the subject of his success – fashion photography. In 1952, F.C. Gundlach photographed "Dior in Paris" for Elegante Welt. Since then, the names of the major Parisian fashion regularly appear in the collections photographed by F.C. Gundlach: Chanel, Jacques Fath, Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin and many others. 

F.C. Gundlach's role models Irving Penn and Richard Avedon also came to Paris for the big fashion shows. Already in the 1940s Avedon photographed the Paris couture collections for American fashion magazines. It was precisely these photographs that motivated F.C. Gundlach as a young man in the Amerika-Haus in Stuttgart to tear pages out of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar enthusiastically. 

F.C. Gundlach quickly developed his own visual language, photographed changes in fashion and society over the following four decades, and created an enormous photographic oeuvre. As a commissioned photographer, his end product was the printed image in the editorial fashion sections of the magazines. His photographs satisfy the aesthetic claim he formulated himself, “to interpret the line of a new fashion in the pictorial representation.”

F.C. Gundlach has been collecting photography since the 1960s and has assembled one of the most important private collections in Germany. It comprises works dating from 1844 to the present day and includes internationally renowned photographers. In this exhibition, Avedon and Penn, Erwin Blumenfeld, Horst P. Horst, Wols, William Klein, Walde Huth-Schmölz, Guy Bourdin and Melvin Sokolsky give an impression of the photographer’s sources of inspiration.

F.C. Gundlach says: "Collecting is a creative act and a way of self-knowledge. Focused on a style or a theme, the collection is a personal résumé." One of the focal points of his collection is fashion photography as a visualization of zeitgeist, as it manifests itself in poses, gestures, facial expressions and clothing - just as F.C. Gundlach has made it his task in his own work. 

As prêt-à-porter fashion became more and more important next to haute couture in Paris, F.C. Gundlach reacted with fashion reportages whose stagings were characterized by spontaneity and narrative elements and at the same time reflected the emancipation of women in the 1960s. 

The city for him became a backdrop, just as in the works of the "Bubble Series", which Melvin Sokolsky took for Harper's Bazaar in Paris in 1963. It is a particularly concise comment on the photographic act of staging fashion on location. This is precisely one aspect of the profession that F.C. Gundlach mastered: whether in Paris, Egypt or any other place in the world - in the skillful combination of model and background, his photography is characterized by the vivid combination of fashion content and design.

Christie´s Paris
9 avenue Matignon 75008 Paris
Saturday 3 to Thursday 8 November (closed on Sunday):
10 - 18 h

image left: ©Yvette Blumenfeld Georges Deeton, Courtesy Howard Greenberg Gallery, Art+Commerce, NYC