Lillian Bassman: Elusive Elegance
Elusive Elegance

In an exhibition of over 100 photographs, Lillian Bassman: Elusive Elegance unveils the remarkable story of this 83-year-old photographer who has returned to fashion work after an interval of several decades. Working for Harper’s Bazaar from the 1940s through the 1960s, Lillian Bassman brought a sophisticated new aesthetic to fashion photography with her elegant and moody images. Full of mystery, sensuality, and expressionistic glamour, Bassman’s dramatic black-and-white photographs capture secret moments and dream memories. By the 1970s, fashion’s aesthetic had moved away from beauty. Disenchanted, Lillian Bassman closed her studio, jettisoning her life’s work of prints and negatives. Fortunately not lost forever, this archive was discovered twenty-one years later in several uncollected trash bags found in an abandoned darkroom by British photo historian Martin Harrison, who encouraged her to re-examine her magazine work. Freed from editorial constraints she chose to reinterpret the past, transforming her fashion images into contemporary works of art. In recent years, Lillian Bassman has embraced fashion photography again, with new work appearing regularly. And this time, with her ethereal images, Bassman finally takes her rightful place in fashion history. The exhibition, first shown at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York, and the accompanying catalog, published by Bulfinch, have enjoyed outstanding reviews.


• Total 130 items to occupy 165-250 linear feet
(optional items, listed below, comprise 85 feet
of the 250)
• 70 gelatin-silver prints matted with
4-ply archival board, framed, under UV plexi,
sizes 32 x 40” to 16 x 20”
• 20 misc. suitable for vitrine, including family
snapshots, original photo from Family of
Man show, oil painting by Moses Soyer etc.
• Two 30 x 40” text panels
• One 6 x 4’ (mounted on gator board) image
• Scrapbook (memoirs and reminiscences about
Bassman by Richard Avedon, Suzy Parker,
Dorian Leigh, Eileen Ford et al.)
• Documentary film by Sarah Moon on Bassman

• Sixteen 8 x 10 color transparencies
• Seventeen silkscreens on various papers
& sizes, tacked to painted plywood
• Tear sheets from Harper’s Bazaar
• Publication: Lillian Bassman: Elusive Elegance
• Rental Fee: $6,000