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September 8, 2019

Stunning Portraits From the Master Lensman Cecil Beaton

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton.

One of the greatest British lensmen, also an Oscar-winning stage and costume designer, Cecil Beaton (1904-1980) was best known for his elegant and decorative photographs of high society, including world leaders, royalty, film stars and international artists. His exceptional aesthetic taste, along with his dramatic persona, fierce ambition and dedication to social advancement are the main factors in Beaton’s over six-decade-long career. Below are some of the well-known names that fell under the multi-talented dandy’s sharp observations:

Marlene Dietrich, 1930. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Marlene Dietrich, 1930. For Vogue.

Marlene Dietrich, 1930. For Vogue.

Colette, 1930. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Norma Shearer, September 1930. For Vanity Fair.


Gary Cooper, 1931. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Gary Cooper, 1931. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Joan Crawford, 1931. For Vanity Fair.

Carole Lombard, July 1931. For Vanity Fair.

Fred Astaire and sister Adele Astaire, 1931. For Vogue.

Fred Astaire seated at piano, 1933. For Vogue.

Katharine Hepburn, July 1935. For Vanity Fair.

Salvador Dalí and Gala, 1935.

Salvador Dalí, looking to one side, holding fencing equipment, 1936. For Vogue.

Queen Elizabeth, 1939.

Vivien Leigh in flame wool dress and tweed coat, April 1941. For Vogue.

Vivien Leigh in black crepe afternoon dress, July 1941. For Vogue.

Vivien Leigh behind the scenes of ‘The Doctor’s Dilemma,’ 1941. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Orson Welles with clasped hands resting on a bust of Shakespeare, April 1942. For Vogue.

Orson Welles, April 1942. For Vogue.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret pose by the staircase in Buckingham Palace, February 1946.

Yul Brynner, March 1946.

Marlon Brando wearing a large double-breasted overcoat, April 1946. For Vogue.

Gloria Swanson in a dinner dress with a fur over her shoulder, May 1946. For Vogue.

Marlon Brando, August 1946. For Vogue.

Laurence Olivier at the British Embassy in Paris, 1948. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Truman Capote, 1948. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Grace Kelly, 1954. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Marilyn Monroe, Ambassador Hotel, 1956. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Julie Andrews, 1958.

Audrey Hepburn, 1960. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Audrey Hepburn, Rome, 1960. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Cristobal Balenciaga, 1962. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Audrey Hepburn wearing an Edwardian bowler hat of brushed Melusine by Givenchy, August 1964. For Vogue.

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment, April 1965. For Vogue.

Georgia O'Keeffe examines an animal skull with a single, black feather in one of it's eye sockets, March 1967.

The Rolling Stones, Morocco, March 1967. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Queen Elizabeth II, 1968.

Greta Garbo wearing a black turban, November 1968. For Vogue.

Greta Garbo, November 1968. For Vogue.

Andy Warhol and the Factory, New York, April 1969. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.

Barbra Streisand, 1969. From the Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby's.




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