First look at career-spanning Helmut Newton exhibition, ‘Fact & Fiction’

Major upcoming exhibition ’Fact & Fiction’ will celebrate fashion photographer Helmut Newton’s influential oeuvre this autumn in A Coruña, Spain

Helmut Newton Italian Vogue Image
Helmut Newton, Bordighera Details, Italian Vogue, Bordighera, Italy, 1982
(Image credit: © Helmut Newton Foundation)

The small coastal town of A Coruña in Galicia, northern Spain, is fast becoming an unexpected cultural destination for enthusiasts of fashion photography. In the past two years, it has hosted major retrospectives of Peter Lindbergh and Steven Meisel; this autumn, it is Helmut Newton’s turn in the spotlight, the seminal German image-maker the subject of an expansive new exhibition titled ‘Helmut Newton – Fact & Fiction’.

The reason is Marta Ortega Pérez, the daughter of the Inditex and Zara co-founder Amancio Ortega Gaona and current Inditex non-executive chair, whose eponymous foundation was founded after the success of ‘Peter Lindbergh: Untold Stories’, which she organised. Its aim is to bring such world-class exhibitions to A Coruña – Inditex is headquartered in nearby Arteixo – and support the careers of young photographers and artists. 

‘Helmut Newton – Fact & Fiction’ in A Coruña, Spain 

Helmut Newton Elsa Peretti Bunny

Helmut Newton, Elsa Peretti as a bunny, Halston, New York, 1975

(Image credit: © Helmut Newton Foundation)

‘Fact & Fiction’ celebrates the prolific output of the photographer who was born in Berlin in 1920 and apprenticed under Yva, the professional pseudonym of photographer Else Ernestine Neuländer-Simon, who was part of the burgeoning avant-garde scene in Germany in the 1930s. Moving to Australia in 1940, where he served for five years in the country’s army, he would return to Europe to work for British Vogue in the late 1950s.

It was to be the beginning of an illustrious career in fashion for Newton, who for international editions of Vogue and numerous other titles created his provocative, sensual photographs which were infused with the femme fatales of film noir, S&M and fetish, and elements of surrealism. His work remains highly influential today.

Helmut Newton Monica Bellucci

Helmut Newton, Monica Bellucci, Monte Carlo, 2001

(Image credit: © Helmut Newton Foundation)

The new exhibition – a major retrospective of his work – is created alongside the Helmut Newton Foundation and will be curated by Philippe Garner, Matthias Harder, and Tim Jefferies. Films will provide new insights into the photographer’s working process, while a curation of fashion imagery will capture what the organisers call his ‘bold and unapologetic’ style (such as his iconic ‘Big Nudes’ series). Portraits of numerous personalities will also feature, among them Andy Warhol, David Bowie, Karl Lagerfeld and Naomi Campbell. A counterpoint comes in a lesser-known side of his oeuvre, a series of landscape images of cities – each one resonant to his career – from Monte Carlo to Los Angeles.

‘Helmut Newton is one of that celestial band of photographers whose images are instantly recognisable as their own,’ says Ortega Pérez/ ‘Newton’s own great revolutionary act was to utterly change the ways in which women were portrayed in the pages of glossy magazines. Here were women who enjoyed style and fashion, who enjoyed the power and splendour of their bodies, women who were elegantly seductive and untouchable. His photographs were not only of his time but far ahead of his time - he spectacularly set the scene for those photographers who followed him.’

‘Helmut Newton – Fact & Fiction’ runs from 18 November 2023 – 1 May 2024.

Helmut Newton Shoe Image

Helmut Newton, Shoe,  Walter Steiger, Monte Carlo, 1983 

(Image credit: © Helmut Newton Foundation)
Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*, joining the team in 2022. Having previously been the digital features editor at AnOther and digital editor at 10 and 10 Men magazines, he has also contributed to titles including i-D, Dazed, 10 Magazine, Mr Porter’s The Journal and more, while also featuring in Dazed: 32 Years Confused: The Covers, published by Rizzoli. He is particularly interested in the moments when fashion intersects with other creative disciplines – notably art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and reporting from international fashion weeks. Across his career, he has interviewed the fashion industry’s leading figures, including Rick Owens, Pieter Mulier, Jonathan Anderson, Grace Wales Bonner, Christian Lacroix, Kate Moss and Manolo Blahnik.