National Portrait Gallery, Permanent Acquisition


London, UK
The Guardian House on fire Portrait Gallery buys McQueen photograph October 15, 2011

Burning Down the House, David Lachapelle's 1996 portrait of the fashion designer Alexander McQueen and his 'muse', style journalist Isabella Blow, at Hedingham Castle in Essex, has been purchased by the National Portrait Gallery.

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Art Daily October 14, 2011

‘Burning Down the House’, a portrait by David LaChapelle of the late Alexander McQueen and his ‘muse’ Isabella Blow has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery. This is the first portrait by LaChapelle to enter the Gallery’s Collection and will be exhibited in the United Kingdom for the first time from Friday 14 October 2011.

The double portrait of McQueen and Blow was originally published in the March 1997 ‘Swinging London’ edition of Vanity Fair. Shot at Hedingham Castle in Essex on 1 December 1996, the photograph shows McQueen in the foreground brandishing a flaming torch, accompanied by a playful Blow, with the castle dramatically burning in the background. Both were dressed in McQueen, with Blow also sporting a Philip Treacy hat, and the article named them ‘The Provocateurs’.

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Art Info October 14, 2011

The late fashion icons and friends Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow now have a permanent home together at London's National Portrait Gallery. The museum acquired David LaChapelle's infamous 1996 portrait of the fashion designer and style legend, "Burning Down the House," which made its British exhibition debut today.

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BBC UK Alexander McQueen to be displayed in UK gallery October 14, 2011

A portrait of the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen and magazine editor Isabella Blow has been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery (NPG). Burning Down The House by surrealist photographer David LaChapelle was originally published in Vanity Fair in 1997. The shot was with an article branding McQueen and Blow "The Provocateurs". NPG director Sandy Nairne said he was "delighted" to receive the work, which is now on display in the gallery.

The portrait was shot at Hedingham Castle in Essex in 1996 and shows McQueen dressed as a woman, brandishing a flaming torch. Both subjects were dressed in clothes designed by McQueen, while Blow was also wearing a Philip Treacy hat.

At the time of the shoot McQueen, who passed away last year, was just 27 years old and had recently debuted his first couture collection for the House of Givenchy. Blow, 38 at the time of the shoot, was largely credited with discovering McQueen.

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London Standard October 14, 2011

This photographic double portrait of eccentric fashion figures Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow, who both committed suicide, has been bought by the National Portrait Gallery. The picture was taken by David LaChapelle at Hedingham Castle in Essex in December 1996.

McQueen was 27 and had recently presented his first couture collection for the House of Givenchy. Blow, then 38, was seen as his muse and is wearing a trademark Philip Treacy hat.

The picture was originally published in the March 1997 "Swinging London" edition of Vanity Fair where the pair were called "The Provocateurs". Artist Daphne Guinness was among a number of people who helped the gallery buy the work, Burning Down the House.It goes on show there today, where it will be the first work by American photographer LaChapelle in the collection.

Director Sandy Nairne said: "I am delighted that this astonishing double portrait celebrating two highly influential figures in British fashion by David LaChapelle has entered the National Portrait Gallery collection."

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British Vogue McQueen Art October 14, 2011

A double portrait of the late Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow is now on show in the UK for the first time at the National Portrait Gallery. The picture, entitled Burning Down The House, was taken by David LaChapelle in December 1996 at Hedingham House in Essex, and first appeared in Vanity Fair.

"This is a fabulous fantasy image of an exceptionally creative pair - Alexander McQueen and Isabella Blow - taken by a great innovator in contemporary portraiture, David LaChapelle," said National Portrait Gallery director Sandy Nairne. "It has become an iconic image."

At the time the picture was taken, McQueen was just 27 years old and was still working at Givenchy. Both are wearing creations by the designer himself, with Blow sporting a Philip Treacy hat.

The image was bought by the National Portrait Gallery with the financial help of McQueen and Blow's long-term friend Daphne Guinness, The Marrakech Gallery Foundation and artist management company Fred Torres.

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New York Post Rihanna & fotog settle suit October 19, 2011

Rihanna has settled with photographer David LaChapelle after he sued the star, saying raunchy scenes in her “S&M” video were direct copies of his provocative pictures.

LaChapelle alleged that the video copied his poses, lighting, wardrobe and props. He launched a lawsuit against Rihanna and her label, Def Jam, and asked for $1 million in damages.

“I like RiRi,” LaChapelle said when launching the suit earlier this summer. “This is not personal, it’s strictly business. Musicians commonly pay to sample music or use someone’s beats and there should be no difference when sampling an artist’s visuals.”

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Gallery Address: Saint Martin's Place, City of London WC2H 0HE, United Kingdom