Long regarded as a curiosity in Britain for her early poems, which taken at face value could be nonsensical, and for her flair for attracting publicity for herself and her brothers, Sitwell was rapturously received in the United States. Horst photographer her in the Vogue studio, New York, during a recital tour. ‘She is fantastic, definite, an eccentric,’ pronounced Vogue in an unconscious parody of her own wordplay. Later she would go to Hollywood, where she was enchanted with Marilyn Monroe. She feuded famously with many sacred cows, including Noel Coward, who delighted her by walking out of the first performance of her long poem Façade (1922) with experimental lines such as ‘Also the hairy sky that we/Take for a coverlet comfortably’. Accompanied by the music of William Walton, she recited through a megaphone. Horst’s recollection of her: ‘Edith Sitwell wore extravagant clothes and jewels; usually the clothes did not fit at all, they just hung… She was very proud of her nose and said “Oh this is a Plantagenet nose”... I wanted a very strong picture with a defined shape. I wanted to make the connection to Old England and literature.’ Horst lunched with her at Oyster Bay and introduced her to Garbo, of whom she commented, ‘A charming woman. Not at all like an actress.’

Portraits - Edith Sitwell (Framed), 1948

  • Horst P. Horst

    Portraits - Edith Sitwell (Framed), 1948 

    Photographic Paper, Archival Pigment



    Image size: 31.5 in. H x 25.2 in. W

    Frame size: 38.5 in. H x 31.5 in. W x 2.25 in. D

    Edition of 10

  • Horst P. Horst German-American, 1906-1999 (born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann) was one of the towering figures of 20th-century fashion photography. Best known for his work with Vogue—who called him “photography’s alchemist”—Horst rose to prominence in Paris in the interwar years, publishing his first work with the magazine in 1931. In the decades that followed, Horst’s experimentations with radical composition, nudity, double exposures, and other avant-garde techniques would produce some of the most iconic fashion images ever, like Mainbocher Corset and Lisa with Harp (both 1939). As The New York Times once described, “Horst tamed the avant-garde to serve fashion.” Though associated most closely with fashion photography, Horst captured portraits of many of the 20th century’s brightest luminaries, dabbling with influences as far-ranging as Surrealism and Romanticism. “I like taking photographs because I like life,” he once said. “And I love photographing people best of all because most of all I love humanity.”


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