Michael A. ‘Tony’ Vaccaro’s incredible photographic career spans nearly eight decades. He is best known for his photographs taken during World War II and post-war Europe which then led to a life’s work in fashion, travel, and celebrity portraits as a photographer for US magazines. Many of these images have never been seen before, and are only now being discovered, shown and sold as part of this exhibition - the first UK selling exhibition devoted to Vaccaro’s work.
Getty Images Gallery curator Shawn Waldron worked with the artist and his studio to create an exhibition covering the six broad subject areas encompassing Vaccaro’s long career: wartime, celebrity, artists, travel & landscapes, Italy, and fashion. Included are images depicting Peggy Guggenheim, Federico Fellini, Sophia Loren, Hubert de Givenchy, Eartha Kitt, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, Georgia O’ Keeffe, among many others.
Born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania in 1922, Vaccaro was sent to England in 1944 with the 83rd Infantry Division and documented his experience on the front line of World War II. With a sharp eye for composition, gesture, and the decisive moment, Vaccaro surreptitiously captured over 8,000 photographs on a smuggled Argus C3 camera. The film was developed in helmets using found chemicals and hung to dry on tree branches during breaks in the action. His pictures capture a rare view of the war as seen through the eyes of someone who fought in combat from the beaches of Normandy to Berlin. Vaccaro’s iconic representations of the war led the BBC to describe him as the ‘greatest combat photographer of WWII’ and the Italian press dubbed Vaccaro ‘Il Maestro’.
After the war Vaccaro spent five years documenting the rebirth of post-war Europe on shooting assignments for the War Department and the U.S. Army newspaper, Stars and Stripes. He later returned to New York and started a twenty-eight year career freelancing for major fashion and lifestyle publications including LIFE, Newsweek, Flair, Harper’s Bazaar, Town and Country for whom he shot the most famous personalities of the day.
Images from the exhibition are available for purchase as prints, starting at £2,710 inclusive of VAT, with global delivery options. The exhibition is being presented with the cooperation and support of the Monroe Gallery of Santa Fe, New Mexico.