Paris – Haute Couture of the 50s and 60s

Will Maywald (1907-1985) was one of the most important photographers in Paris from the 1930s to the 1960s. His training at the art schools in Krefeld, Cologne and Berlin shaped his avant-garde design language. In 1932 he moved to the Seine, where he became friends with many protagonists of modern art.

His range of topics, which includes both commissioned and free work, ranges from a spectacular collection of portrait photographs and fashion photos for all the major Parisian couture houses, to dance and architectural photography, to travel and city reports.

The gallery in focus, Cologne is presenting some of Maywald’s fashion photographs that have never been shown before. Willy Maywald photographed Christian Dior’s first post-war collection in Paris. His photographs went around the world and made the New Look famous. Commissions from Jacques Fath and other haute couture houses followed. The exhibition of the in focus gallery presents his fashion photographs in all their facets with old vintage prints. Willy Maywald’s unmistakable staging of haute couture fashion can be found in all major treatises on the history of photography, but only “specialists” know who created it.

A retrospective was organized by the Kleve Museum, and solo exhibitions were held at the Cagnes Castle Museum and the Palazzo Ducale in Genoa. Maywald photographs were also included in the “Paris, Paris” show at the Center Pompidou. Across the pond, in 1982, the Fashion Institute of Technology organized the largest Maywald exhibition with 150 photographs. His photos have been seen everywhere from Sao Paulo to Tokyo. After Maywald’s death, interest waned again – Maywald’s photographic treasure is still waiting to be unearthed today. An important protagonist of fashion photography is to be rediscovered.

Willy Maywald : Paris – Haute Couture of the 1950s and 1960s
until May 27, 2022
in the focus gallery
Main Street 114
50996 Cologne, Germany

Opening on Saturday, April 2, 2022 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m

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