William Helburn, Simon D’Aillencourt with Whippet, Penn Station, New York City, 1959. A Gelatin Silver photograph, 11 x 14” (paper size). Available Ed 3/25. A llifetime print, signed on verso (back of photo) by William Helburn.
Throughout his career Helburn aimed to grab the viewer’s attention, often contextualizing his models in outdoor settings to create compelling mid-century fashion images. “Whippet” captures graceful model Simone D'Aillencourt with Ward Purdy and the dog. The image was made at Penn Station in New York City for Vogue magazine. In an elegant black-and-white composition Simone’s delicate and aristocratic face is tilted towards the dog, mirroring a demeanor both rarified and fragile. Ward Purdy becomes the perfect foil (“wingman”) for highlighting D’Aillencourt fashionable 1950s classic beauty.
Provenance: Private Collector
William Helburn: Seventh and Madison, London, 2014, p 73.
A contemporary of Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Lillian Bassman and Horst P. Horst, William Helburn (1924-2020) hailed from New York City. After serving in the Pacific in World War II, Helburn was inspired to become a fashion photographer. Helburn would go on to study with Harper's Bazaar art director Alexey Brodovitch at his Design Workshop. This led to a 10-page assignment for Bazaar that helped launch his career. Helburn published thousands of images and won dozens of awards for his fashion and advertising photography. A book on his photography “William Helburn –Seventh and Madison" was published in 2014. "Fashion photography is, singularly, the most creative form of photography there is," said Helburn on the art of fashion.
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