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Vintage fashion photos

December 8, 2008 |  4:00 am

Lillian Bassman/Peter Fetterman Gallery

From Holly Myers at Culture Monster:

Fashion photographer Lillian Bassman, protégée of Harper’s Bazaar designer Alexey Brodovitch and friend to Richard Avedon, rose to prominence in the 1940s and ’50s but drifted out of the business, threw out her negatives and fell into relative obscurity for decades — until Helen Frankenthaler, who happened to be renting her onetime studio, came across a cache of lost negatives in 1991. A monograph followed, a flush of prestigious assignments and a handful of exhibitions, launching her career once more at about age 80.

A substantial survey at the Peter Fetterman Gallery reveals Bassman, now 91, to be an artist of singular if rather obstinate vision. Indeed, her style was so distinct — black-and-white, highly contrasted, fantastically romantic — that it’s difficult to imagine how she could have weathered the shift into the ocher-tinted haze of the ’60s and ’70s.