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Phillips to present exclusive selection of Polaroids by Ellen von Unwerth in November 2022
Ellen von Unwerth, Big Spender, Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour, Los Angeles, 1995​, Estimate: £2,000-3,000. “This was a shoot inspired by the movie Sweet Charity. I had all the hottest models of the moment on set. Naomi, Stephanie Seymour, Shana, Tatjana Patitz. I had my future husband play the Big Spender. However, I was not sure this was such a good idea, as while we were shooting, I saw him looking at all the sexy girls as they tried to turn him on, just like in the movie.” Image courtesy of Phillips.



LONDON.- Phillips has announced ULTIMATE ELLEN VON UNWERTH, an exclusive selection of 20 unique Polaroids taken by the celebrated photographer Ellen von Unwerth. The majority of these works were created during editorial assignments for international publications, including Vogue US, Vogue Italia and The Face, in the supermodel heyday of the 1990s. Advertising campaign images include Paris Hilton for Guess in 2004 and Alessandra Ambrosio for Victoria’s Secret in 2005. This curation, showcasing Ellen’s instantly recognisable images of strong, sensual and playful women, will be unveiled for the first time in Phillips’ Paris galleries from 7 to 11 November. The Polaroids will then travel to London for a public preview from 16 to 22 November at 30 Berkeley Square before being offered in the Photographs auction on 22 November.

Expressing her enthusiasm for presenting the Polaroids for the very first time, Ellen von Unwerth outlines what this selection of 20 Polaroids means to her and why she has chosen to collaborate with Phillips for this world premiere:

“Polaroids hold a special place in my photography; I love the spontaneity and the energy they bring. I’m very happy to premiere my Polaroids, which will offer a backstage insight into some of my most iconic shoots, mixed with more recent celebrities and series. Phillips is the perfect partner for this first auction.”

Yuka Yamaji, Head of Photographs, Europe, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Ellen on ULTIMATE ELLEN VON UNWERTH and to premiere her fantastic Polaroid prints. Ellen’s selection of works provides a fun and insightful glimpse into her creative process, capturing defining moments during the supermodel heyday of the 1990s and early 2000s. A visionary and creator, Ellen has made unique contributions to the arts during her three-decade career, empowering women through her photography. Ellen enjoys photographing women, and women enjoy being photographed by Ellen – this affinity underpins her distinctive imagery as seen in this exclusive offering. Following the success of our previous fashion collaborations with the likes of Vogue, Calvin Klein, and Steven Klein, we are excited to present collectors an unparalleled access to these unique Polaroids by Ellen von Unwerth.”

Ellen von Unwerth is one of the most renowned photographers working in fashion today. A model turned photographer, von Unwerth gained worldwide recognition for the now-iconic 1989 Guess campaign that helped to launch the supermodel Claudia Schiffer. A highly sought-after figure, von Unwerth has shot for all of the top magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, Interview, The Face and i-D, as well as high-profile advertising campaigns for the likes of Guess, Chanel, Dior, Revlon, Victoria’s Secret, and many more. In addition, she has directed commercials for global brands, including Revlon and Clinique, as well as music videos and short films. Von Unwerth is the recipient of numerous awards, notably the 2019 Lucie Award for Achievement in Fashion, and her works have been exhibited worldwide, most recently at Fotografiska New York in 2020. Since 1994, von Unwerth has published nine photobooks to date.

This dedicated offering presents von Unwerth as a storyteller who creates narratives that embrace spontaneity, sensuality and joyfulness and features some of the biggest names in fashion, including Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Karen Mulder and Nadja Auermann. Surveying von Unwerth’s long-term relationship with instant photography, the works in this curation were created between 1987 and 2005 with the majority of the Polaroids taken in the 1990s during the first decade of her career. Von Unwerth played a significant role in the rise of the “supermodel” era, turning fashion models into icons. Her Polaroids – intimate, one-of-a-kind works of art in their own right – acted as visual studies for what became her final published images and hold a special place in her oeuvre, serving as unique artefacts of analogue photography. Today, von Unwerth mainly shoots digitally but occasionally turns to instant photography for its spontaneity and unpredictability. The works on offer were all shot on Polaroid Type 100 peel-apart film.

Paris Highlights Preview

46 Rue du Bac, Paris 75007
7-11 November
Monday-Thursday 10:00 am-6:00 pm, Friday by appointment only

London Auction 22 November 2022 2pm GMT
Viewing 16-22 November
30 Berkeley Square, London










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