Horst P. Horst, born Horst Paul Albert Bohrmann, spent much of his youth in the East German countryside. He began his artistic career by designing furniture at an applied arts school in Frankfurt and was eventually accepted for an apprenticeship with the architect Le Corbusier. While working in Paris, Horst met fashion photographer George Hoyningen-Huene and became his assistant. By the 1930s, this job earned him his own shoots for French Vogue.
In 1932, Horst was commissioned by American Vogue to photograph the actress Gertrude Lawrence. On the basis of this photograph and the praise it received in The New Yorker, Horst was invited by American Vogue editor Condé Nast to work in New York on a six-month trial period, primarily photographing American debutantes. Forced to leave at the end of his Vogue contract, Horst became a highly successful freelance celebrity photographer. Following World War II, the fashion industry recentered around the U.S. and a less-staged, more natural, “All-American,” and outdoor style that did not match Horst’s aesthetic. Though moderately successful during the 1950s-70s, his career regained momentum during the 1980s.
Source: Duke Libraries