V&A: Elton John and David Furnish’s photography collection to go on display

Photographs from Elton John and David Furnish’s private collection are due to go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) next year.

Fragile Beauty will span from the 1950s to today and include portraits of jazz musicians Miles Davis and Chet Baker, and actress Marilyn Monroe.

The exhibition will also feature historic moments from the civil rights movement to Aids activism.

More than 300 prints from at least 140 photographers will be on show.

The news follows a “significant” donation to the museum from Sir Elton in 2019, which led to the V&A renaming one of its galleries after the singer and his filmmaker husband.

For this exhibition, curators have created eight thematic sections covering fashion, celebrity, the male body and American photography – with the show is set to be the largest temporary photography exhibition in the V&A’s history.

File image of David Furnish and Sir Elton John at an event togetherIMAGE SOURCE,PA MEDIA
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The couple said the exhibition would take their collaboration with the museum “to really exciting new heights”

In a statement Sir Elton and Furnish said: “Since we first loaned a selection of Horst photographs to the V&A in 2014, our relationship with the museum has grown significantly.

“Fragile Beauty takes our collaboration to really exciting new heights, showcasing some of the most beloved photographers and iconic images from within our collection.

“We look forward to sharing this exhibition with the public.”

A black and white image titled 'Versace Dress (Back View), El Mirage 1990' by Herb RittsIMAGE SOURCE,HERB RITTS FOUNDATION
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Fashion is one of eight topics explored in the showcase

The exhibition is being curated by Duncan Forbes, the V&A’s head of photography, as well as Newell Harbin, director of The Sir Elton John Photography Collection, and Lydia Caston, the V&A’s exhibition project curator.

Mr Forbes said: “We are delighted to be working with Sir Elton John and David Furnish to present highlights from their unparalleled collection: from the playful and surprising, to the contemplative and thoughtful.

A black and white portrait of civil rights leader Malcolm X wearing a hat and displaying a star and crescent ring on his hand.IMAGE SOURCE,MAGNUM PHOTOS/PA MEDIA
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A portrait of civil rights leader Malcolm X will be among the photos exhibited

“Fragile Beauty will be a truly epic journey across the recent history of photography, and a celebration of Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s passion for the medium.”

Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection in partnership with Gucci will run from 18 May 2024 to 5 January 2025.

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