Danziger Gallery is pleased to announce our representation of the photographic estate of Antonio Lopez. The foremost fashion illustrator of the 1970s and 80s, Antonio (as he signed his work) was and remains one of the most highly regarded and influential figures in the fashion world. While not initially known as a photographer, Antonio was rarely without his favorite Instamatic camera, and as his career progressed he turned increasingly to photography to create fashion stories, portraits, and elaborate mise-en-scènes.
This exhibition – the first to focus exclusively on Antonio’s photographs - features a selection of the unique Instamatic prints from the 1970s that were his photographic form. Developed and printed by Kodak, these prints were either mounted by Antonio or stored in the original yellow Kodak envelopes that the film was processed and delivered in. As Antonio never sent the negatives back for re-printing each print is unique.
While primarily known for his fashion illustrations, Antonio did not treat his photographs lightly, assembling them in grids and pairs to create dynamic and visceral patterns. While the prints may superficially resemble Andy Warhol’s Polaroids because of their size and period, Antonio’s Kodak prints are a burst of energy to Warhol’s more classical studies. While Warhol’s Polaroids were mostly the basis for future painted portraits, Antonio’s photographs were an end to themselves.
A serial Svengali, as the writer Karin Nelson noted: “Lopez brilliantly transformed the women in his world. Under his tutelage, Jerry Hall, a long tall Texan he met at Paris’s Club Sept, evolved into a golden goddess. He put Jessica Lange in gold lamé evening dresses after discovering her in Paris studying mime, and gave aspiring model Tina Lutz her start (and an introduction to future husband Michael Chow); and, by spotlighting Pat Cleveland, a mixed-race model with a theatrical streak, he helped break down the color barrier in high fashion.” Other favorite subjects were the young Grace Coddington, Grace Jones, and Paloma Picasso.
Antonio Lopez was born in Utuado, Puerto Rico in 1943. His family moved to Spanish Harlem in 1950 where he showed early promise as an artist making drawings for his mother who was a seamstress and dressmaker. In the early 1960s he enrolled on a course at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York where he met Juan Ramos who became his life long collaborator. He joined The New York Times in 1963 but was soon freelancing for Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue and French Elle. In 1969 he moved to Paris with Ramos where he was commissioned by all the leading fashion magazines. He returned to New York in 1975 creating numerous covers and picture stories for Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine.