Thirty-five photographs of Audrey Hepburn from the personal collection of her sons, Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, will go on display in London’s National Portrait Gallery’s summer exhibition.
Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon will explore the life and career of the film star, and is the first British exhibition to be organised with support from the Audrey Hepburn Estate.
Included in the selection of photographs lent to the exhibition by Sean Hepburn Ferrer and Luca Dotti, some of which have never been seen before in the UK, will be a portrait of Hepburn performing a dance recital in 1942 when she was just thirteen, and a rarely seen photograph of her taken on location in Africa during the filming of The Nun’s Story in 1958. There is also a behind-the-scenes photograph of Hepburn wearing a costume designed by Edith Head during a fitting for her title role in Sabrina.
The earliest portrait on loan from the collection of the Audrey Hepburn Estate is from 1938, showing Hepburn as a nine-year-old girl, and the most recent is from her last major photo shoot, taken by Steven Meisel in 1991.
The exhibition, which runs from 2 July until 18 October, shows iconic portraits of Hepburn by leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn, Terry O’Neill and Norman Parkinson.
There are examples of her early work in London as a fashion model for photographs by Antony Beauchamp for the department store Marshall & Snelgrove, and the highly successful Crookes Lacto-Calamine skin-cream campaign, photographed by Angus McBean in 1950. Photographs by Larry Fried, showing Hepburn in her dressing room on Broadway for Gigi (1951); Hepburn captured in Italy at the time of filming War and Peace (1955) by Philippe Halsman and George Daniell; publicity photographs for Funny Face (1957); and Terry O’Neill’s photographs taken during the making of films How to Steal a Million (1966) and Two for the Road (1967), will be among the portraits on show, documenting Hepburn’s transformation throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and her key roles on stage and screen.
Also included will be vintage magazine covers, from the Picturegoer in 1952 to the front cover of Life magazine featuring Hepburn in Givenchy for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, taken by Howell Conant. Original film stills and ephemera will complete the story of one of the world’s most photographed women.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director of the National Portrait Gallery, said,
I am delighted that we are able to exhibit these beautiful and rare photographs of Audrey Hepburn, which will form a very special part of this exhibition celebrating a remarkable 20thcentury icon. We are hugely grateful to Luca Dotti and Sean Hepburn Ferrer for their generous contribution and for their ongoing support of this exhibition.
Her son, Luca Dotti, said:
We are thrilled to be able to support this comprehensive and beautifully curated exhibition dedicated to our mother as it allows me and my brother Sean to grasp fragments of an otherwise unreachable past. The experience is all the more rewarding as the exhibition strives to go behind the scenes and give us rare insights into the making of Audrey Hepburn, from her London debut and her rise to stardom in the ’50s and ’60s, to the last season of her life.
She would be honoured to have an exhibition dedicated to her at the National Portrait Gallery. And glad to be back home.
AUDREY HEPBURN: PORTRAITS OF AN ICON
2 July – 18 October 2015, National Portrait Gallery, London
Admission charges: Including voluntary donation: Adult £10 / Concessions £8.50
Standard price: Adult: £9 / Concessions £7.50
A beautifully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition including an essay by Helen Trompeteler and a chronology by Terence Pepper along with over 145 portraits and supporting images. The catalogue will be available to purchase from National Portrait Gallery Shops and online as hardback (RRP £29.95) and paperback (exclusive to the Gallery, RRP £19.95).
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.