lunes, 3 de noviembre de 2014


Helena Rubinstein in front of a montage of some of the many portraits she commissioned throughout her life, 1958. Helena Rubinstein Foundation Archives, Fashion Institute of Technology, SUNY, Gladys Marcus Library, Special Collections -

Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power opened to the public on October 31, marking the first time a museum has explored this fascinating historic figure. Through the cosmetics empire and art collections Rubinstein built, Madame (as she was widely known) helped break down the status quo of taste, blurring boundaries between commerce, art, fashion, beauty, and design. Even in advance of the grand opening, Beauty Is Power had already attracted adulation from the press, including feature coverage in W magazine and The New York Times. The early buzz in these and other publications speaks volumes about the subject’s allure. The display reunites numerous selections from Madame’s famed art collection, which were dispersed at auction after her death, in 1965. The show begins with several portraits of the woman herself, by artists such as Graham Sutherland and Marie Laurencin. Later on, there are a dozen of the drawings Madame pressed Pablo Picasso to make of her.

Installation view of the exhibition Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power, October 31, 2014 – March 22, 2015. © The Jewish Museum, NY. Photo by: David Heald.

Sculptures by Elie Nadelman, one of Madame’s favorite artists, help to evoke the modern, intellectual atmosphere Rubinstein cultivated in her many salons. Her innovative and astute collecting of African and Oceanic sculpture is represented in the show through more than 30 significant works. Photographs, fashion shoots, beauty ads, and vintage cosmetics provide windows on her lavish homes and groundbreaking business. 

The miniature period rooms she loved to collect have been meticulously reassembled here. And to demonstrate Madame’s place as a style icon, Beauty Is Power also presents highlights from her collections of couture clothing and jewelry. Above all, embedded in this rich, wide-ranging exhibition are enlightening insights about history, women’s self-expression, and the pivotal changes wrought by modernism. ”She proved that it wasn’t what you were born with that counted but what you did with it,” Holly Brubach writes in the pages of W. In the Times, art critic and journalist Karen Rosenberg calls Beauty Is Power a “stimulating exhibition” and “a master class in modernism-as-marketing, one that comes with a strong female – even feminist – perspective on 20th-century visual culture.” Helena Rubinstein: Beauty Is Power is on view at the Jewish Museum through March 22, 2015.

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