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A Retrospective of Karl Lagerfeld's Photography is On Display in NYC

By Jimmy Kontomanolis | March 20, 2019 | Culture

The late, great Karl Lagerfeld was a man of many talents: Most notably, of course, a renowned fashion designer—he served as Creative Director of Chanel and Fendi for decades, all while designing his own namesake label. But his artful eye went beyond the world of fashion; Lagerfeld was also a celebrated fine arts photographer.

Untitled_October_1995_b_w_photography_14_09_x_15_94_inches-0001.jpg"Untitled (Group Paris Scenes)," 1995

Following his death on February 19, Galerie Gmurzynska, a long-time partner of Lagerfeld’s—they held their first exhibition of his photography in 1996—launched a retrospective of the artist’s work as a celebration of their 20+ year collaboration.

Homage to Karl Lagerfeld: 30 Years of Photography features more than 20 of Lagerfeld’s works, showing the breadth of his photographic talents. Lagerfeld was much more than a designer moonlighting in photography—he was a true fine artist who continually explored the avant-garde of photographic processes, and the works on display at Galerie Gmurzynska prove just that. “What I like about photographs is that they capture a moment that’s gone forever, impossible to reproduce,” Lagerfeld once said. And the moments his eye captured are truly magnificent.

Standouts from the retrospective include works from Lagerfeld’s “Hollywood Stars” series, including portraits of Nicole Kidman, Sheryl Crow, and Ashton Kutcher, among others. The series was partly featured in Interview magazine’s October 2002 issue and was first introduced by Galerie Gmurzynska during the first edition of Art Basel Miami Beach that same year.

hollywood-stars.jpg"Hollywood Stars," 2002

But Lagerfeld shot more than just the stars he was so used to being around. Examples of work like the “Floating Flowers” series from 2011 showcase a unique pigment process that enabled Lagerfeld to print soft-toned, four-color prints, creating a strong pictorial effect. And the results are a series of artistic works that were featured in Vogue Germany.

Homage to Karl Lagerfeld: 30 Years of Photography is on display at Galerie Gmurzynska through April 27, 2019. 39 E 78th St., 212-535-5275,

Photography by: Photography by Joseph Jagos and Jimmy Kontomanolis