Man Ray photograph Elton John private collection

RADICAL EYE: London’s Tate Modern has announced a new photography exhibition that will feature rare vintage prints from Sir Elton John’s private collection. Aiming to tell the story of modernist photography from the Twenties to the Fifties, “The Radical Eye” will feature more than 150 photographs by artists such as Man Ray, André Kertész, Berenice Abbot and Edward Steichen.

Curators Shoair Mavlian and Simon Baker worked alongside Newell Harbin, director of the Sir Elton John photography collection, to highlight the technological advances happening in photography throughout the 20th century.

Herbert Bayer’s photomontage, as well as the photographs of Alexander Rodchenko and Margaret Bourke-White, which capture the modern metropolis through “bird’s eye” and “worm’s eye” views, are among the images used to illustrate the experimentation taking place at the time.

“The modernist era in photography is one of the key moments within the medium, and collecting work from this period has brought me great joy,” John said. “Each of these photographs serves as inspiration for me in my life; they line the walls of my homes and I consider them precious gems.”

A series of Man Ray portraits depicting the likes of Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Dora Maar will also be on display. John has been collecting Maar’s photographs for more than 25 years and they will be exhibited together for the first time.

“There are few collections of modernist photography in the U.K., so we are delighted that Sir Elton John has allowed us to draw on his incredible collection and give everyone a chance to see these iconic works,” said the Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota.

John’s collection had been previously exhibited at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2007. At the time police had seized a nude photograph by Nan Goldin, which was later deemed not to be an indecent image.

The exhibition, which has been in the works for more than two years, opens in November and will run until May 2017.

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