Twombly By Horst
Around That Time

December 10–January 07, 2017


Book Signing and Opening with
Ivan Shaw and Hamish Bowles
Saturday, December 10, 5-8PM

601 South Anderson St.
Los Angeles, CA

VENUS is pleased to present Twombly by Horst: Around that Time, an exhibition of photographs by Horst P. Horst from 1966. The show, comprised of twenty pictures taken at Twombly’s home in Rome, will be on view from December 10th through 23rd, 2016.

In 1966, Diana Vreeland sent Horst P. Horst to Rome to photograph Cy Twombly’s residence for Vogue. She had in mind a profile of the expatriate painter for the pages between her more traditional editorial spreads, illustrated with images of Twombly’s impossibly elegant and sparsely decorated quarters. Twombly had moved to Rome in 1957, where he married the Baroness Tatiana Franchetti, an Italian descendant of the Borgias, just as his career had begun to take off in New York. Tatiana’s family retained a modest palazzo on the Via Manfretti, and the newlyweds took up residence in the quarters shortly after they were married.

The Twomblys had lived in Rome for nearly a decade when Horst arrived. He spent two weeks with the couple, observing their domestic habits and learning how they’d instantiated themselves in their home. Horst often relied on a deep knowledge of a space to achieve the compositional rigor for which he was known, and his images of the Twombly residence indicate a studied familiarity with its neoclassical enfilades and grey marble doorways. Indeed, the formal rigor of the Twombly’s palazzo was in keeping with the standards of beauty towards which Horst’s images aspired; his earlier work for Vogue hewed closely to Greco-Roman standards of beauty and neoclassical sculpture.

By all accounts, the images published to accompany “Roman Classic Surprise” in the November 15th, 1966 issue of Vogue were the result of a meaningful collaboration. Not only was Horst particularly well suited to capture the palazzo’s architecture, the two artists seemed to take a liking to one another. They shared a respect for each other’s work, and as they got to know one another during Horst’s visit, Twombly helped the photographer arranged his shots. Indeed, the interaction seems to have had a lasting effect on Twombly’s own production: soon after the feature was published, Twombly began photographing his own studio with color polaroids, in the same square format that Horst had used to shoot his home.


Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann was born in 1906 in Weißenfels-an-der-Saale under the German Empire. In 1930, he moved to Paris to study under the architect Le Corbusier, for whom he photographed new construction. He quickly met George Hoyningen-Huene and Cecil Beaton, photographers working for the British and French editions of Vogue, and Horst began shooting for the magazine in 1931. He worked with the magazine for over six decades, through numerous editors, and shot in both black and white and color. Horst travelled and worked internationally until his death in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1999.

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