The Cecil Beaton retrospective that is a collaboration between Sotheby’s and the Chris Beetles Gallery is getting a lot of attention. The Telegraph focuses on the pictures and Beaton’s influential style of celebrity portraiture:
Beaton captured a myriad of actors, pop stars and leading members of the Royal family over half a century until his death in 1980, becoming a major influence on younger photographers such as David Bailey.
Among the images is a touching portrait of the Queen, when she was HRH Princess Elizabeth, taken in 1942 on the occasion of her becoming Commander-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards. Another is a delicate picture of Julie Andrews, the actress, her girlish features reflected in a mirror. [ . . . ] Other photographs included in the exhibition – described as the “most comprehensive Beaton exhibition for many years” – are of Marilyn Monroe, Picasso, Julie Andrews, Audrey Hepburn, Mick Jagger and Sir Winston Churchill.
The Guardian, on the other hand, looks at how Beaton matured from a social climbing celebrity hound to a canny spotter of rising talent–like Andy Warhol–to a sensitive chronicler of the debilitating effects of age.
The portrait is of Evelyn Waugh, fat cigar in hand, looking menacing. No surprise, perhaps, that the photographer despised the novelist with a lifelong passion, the victim of schoolboy bullying, which included having pins stuck in him on his first day at school.
The man behind the camera is Cecil Beaton, one of the most celebrated and sought-after photographers of the last century, and the Waugh portrait is included in a new exhibition of his works, some of them hardly ever seen before, which include Nancy Cunard in the 1920s, Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s and Greta Garbo in the 1960s.
David Wootton, a writer and researcher who helped curate the exhibition, which opens in London next week, said the aim was to show the full range of Beaton’s work. As a young man Beaton was transfixed by glamour but as he matured some of his best photographs would be of old people as they were, capturing their spirit.
The Waugh photograph was taken in 1955 at a house party at Lady Diana Cooper’s chateau in Chantilly. While they mixed in the same social circles, they were not friends. In 1962 Beaton said: “Waugh is my enemy. We dislike one another intensely. He thinks I’m a nasty piece of goods and oh, brother! do I feel the same way about him.”