Category Archives: Artists

London Loves Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton Popup November 2015 (21)
We’re pleased to report that our latest exhibition was a huge success and some of the beautiful Helmut Newton prints we featured have now sold out!

ONGallery once again took over the wonderful space at ‘The Showroom Presents‘ in Fulham from Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th November. Artists, art lovers and the ONGallery team were in attendance to view the original vintage prints and discuss the art over a glass or two of champagne.

Helmut Newton Popup November 2015 (22)



Original Vintage Prints

Twenty-five original prints by Helmut Newton from between 1967 and 1984 were on display, among which were some previously unseen works by the artist. But the event wasn’t just an opportunity to view Newton’s work but also an opportunity to buy. As it happened, sales were above our expectations and in fact some of these limited edition prints have now sold out, while several others are down to their last one!

If you attended but chose not to buy, fear not, you can still make a purchase through the ONGallery website. Have a look at Helmut Newton’s work here; if we still have prints available you’ll be able to find that image that caught your eye at the event.

Rue Aubriot-Le Smoking Photography Print

One of our particular favourites, and unsurprisingly one of the images to come mighty close to selling out, was Rue Aubriot. You can read more about the story behind Helmut Newton’s Rue Aubriot here.

More Exclusive Exhibitions in 2016

We have plans to continue hosting more exclusive exhibitions of our artists’ fantastic work in 2016 and we sincerely hope you’ll join us if you can. We hope these exhibitions offer you an opportunity to appreciate these works hung as they might be in your own home. But for us, it’s also such a special opportunity to be able to talk about the pieces with true fans and share a glass of champagne while we discuss the stories and inspirations behind the art.

Win an Exclusive Helmut Newton Print with ONGallery

One last note while we’re on the topic of the talented Mr Newton, don’t forget ONGallery has a prize draw running which you can enter to win an exclusive print by the artist. There’s still time to enter, with the event closing on December 10th 2015, so head over to our competition page here to get your entry in.

John Thornton: Master of the Erotic Surreal

Screenshot 2015-12-01 11.34.25

“Magnifico … Fantastico” … That’s how Salvador Dali described John Thornton’s work. From the master of surrealism, that’s one hell of a recommendation.

Dali, along with Luis Brunel, Rene Magritte, Giorgo de Chirco – and photographs of stocking and suspender-clad women in Spick & Span magazine – are among the chief influences on Sydney-born Thornton’s work.

His photos have been exhibited around the world for more than four decades, and he can boast eight shows in London alone. As an advertising photographer, Thornton has scooped more than 100 awards including the New York Art Directors’ Club gold award, and his work is now on display in museums and with private collectors. He’s also published the book Pipe Dreams, featuring some of his early images.

A Life Less Ordinary

Thornton’s creative career started at Bruce Minnett’s Studio in Sydney, but unwilling to be conscripted into the Vietnam War, he upped and left Australia for South Africa at the age of 20. He survived by taking photos and writing articles about the surf scene at Cape St Francis before moving to Cape Town to work in fashion and advertising photography.

It was here that he found his taste for the controversial. A passionate opponent of South Africa’s apartheid regime, he produced his first photographic comment on the political situation – a picture featuring his naked white housemate and his black girlfriend.

Warned that his images could get him locked up, Thornton skipped off to London straight from an assignment in Portugal and never went back. Shooting advertising images in the English capital, Thornton began to indulge his adoration of the surreal and started to create his trademark erotic surrealistic images.

Married to the Muse

Many of Thornton’s stunning pictures feature his now ex-wife Alex. In Holding My Heart, he pictures Alex in a red-toned bodysuit through a hole in an internal wall that has been smashed with a sledgehammer. The woman is holding a red rope attached to a red heart. Influenced by Magritte’s views through structure and showing Thornton’s self-confessed infatuation with Alex, it’s a unique, highly-charged piece.


Dalis Lips also features Alex and pays homage to Dali. It shows a pink-clad Alex lying on the floor beside the pink Mae West Lips Dali sofa, one foot on the sofa, a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. Beside her, the ripped up pieces of a picture litter the floor beside an empty frame. As Thornton says: “If you can make people stop and wonder what is going on, the image gains another dimension.”

Limited Edition John Thornton Prints

ONGallery-302Thornton is undoubtedly one of the artists ONGallery is most honoured to be working with and we recently welcomed the man himself to our London exhibition in Chelsea (October 2015).

ONGallery has signed an exclusive deal with Thornton to sell a collection of his limited edition prints. His sexy and surreal work is a real statement piece to appreciate with the eye and ponder with the brain.

You can view and purchase John Thornton images directly through the site here.

The Most Expensive Photograph in the World

The most expensive photograph in the world has an unlikely back story, one strangely distant from the world of high art. Peter Lik’s image Phantom demonstrates the beauty in the natural world and the play of light, but its achievement is beyond visual; the work is also a demonstration of the artist’s business skill.

Phantom was taken in one of Lik’s favourite places to shoot, Antelope Canyon in Arizona. The canyon itself is carved from the natural flow of water, which has rushed through the rock over millions of years. In a subterranean cavern in Antelope Canyon, Lik captured Phantom, a simple and haunting image of a shaft of sunlight in which dust is suspended, mimicking a haunting human figure.

A sister image of Phantom, titled Ghost, portrays the same shot in colour and bears a strong resemblance to the work of Jasper Dalgliesh, entitled Antelope Canyon, which is itself for sale at more accessible price bracket. Clearly the canyon is a favourite with photographers and fine art buyers alike for its fantastic colours and plays on light.

The Power of Nature

Phantom itself was in keeping with Lik’s style, he is known for his landscapes, which for fans and collectors, hold their value in the fact that the capture the essence of a place so well. In fact, many of Lik’s galleries are purposefully located in holiday destinations in order to connect with wealthy travellers keen to take home more than just memories of a great vacation they can connect with a wonderful vacation. Lik himself said: “The purpose of all my photos is to capture the power of nature and convey it in a way that inspires someone to feel passionate and connected to the image.”

But the sale of the most expensive photograph in the world didn’t make headlines for the artistic value of the piece, it was the financial value which got the press talking.

A Mysterious Record

On 9 December 2014 Peter Lik’s company, Lik USA, released a press release stating that a private collector had purchased Phantom for $6.5 million. The sale pushed his work in another league and smashed through the previous record holder, of Andreas Gusky’s Rhein II, which sold for $4.3 million at auction in 2011.

The announcement itself never quite gained the confirmation and clarity Lik’s PR team worked so hard to achieve and to this day the anonymity of the buyer and the art establishment’s lack of recognition for Lik’s work in general have meant that the sale price still has a air of doubt surrounding it.

However, it’s not something that Lik or his fans are losing any sleep over. His work, which is almost always sold through a clever limited edition pricing strategy of 995 prints, increases in price as the edition runs out and buyers are not difficult to find. An image that is initially offered for somewhere in the region of $4,000 at a Lik gallery, will later be listed for $17,500 once 95 per cent of the print run is sold out and the image is classed as ‘Premium Peter Lik’.

The same practice is seen in other limited edition prints from artists, but Lik’s strict adherence to the formula has made him one of the wealthiest, if not the wealthiest, fine art photographer of all time.

Rare and Expensive Beauty

For buyers, the potential of buying into something early and potentially capitalising on its rarity in later years is an attractive concept, even if doubts have emerged over the realistic chance of a high resell price for Lik’s work in particular. But for others, it’s as Lik executive Mr Fatoohi told the New York Times when asked about investment claims on the art: “We tell clients who ask about future values ‘Buy because you love it’. There are no guarantees.”

As with any art purchase, the love for the piece has to come first. But the limited edition nature of a print is doubtless a factor in many art purchasers, whether they’re looking at buying at Lik’s level, or seeking something more accessible, the limited edition nature of art is an important consideration in the purchase, guaranteeing the rarity of the beauty you’re bringing into your home.

Take a look at our premium collection for more amazing prints too special to ignore.

Spotlight On: Nudes

Tom Kelley- Sweetheart of the month

Sweetheart Of the month by Tom Kelley.

Great nude photography and art goes beyond the aesthetics and captures a  moment. It’s a form of artwork that many people have a particularly strong  reaction to, perhaps because the subjects are exposed, the artist is able to capture  something about the essence of the model.

There’s no denying that the bold statement a nude s hot provides is also highly desired by those looking to buy art; these pieces create a real connection with the owner.And with the truly iconic nude photographs,  there is very often a story or dare we say a great legend behind the image itself.  In some cases it’s the model, in others the photographer, or perhaps how the two were united in the creation of the piece.

Norma Jean Baker and Tom Kelley

In this genre of art, icons don’t get much greater  than Marilyn Monroe, or Norma  Jean Baker as she was known when Tom Kelly photographed her in 1949. Kelley took what is now one of the most infamous images of  Marilyn Monroe, but at the time, Monroe was unknown as an actress and the shoot was simply something she had agreed to in order to “pay the rent”.

Tom Kelley sold the shots to be published in a glamour girl pin-up calendar and for a few  years that was the end of the story. But in 1953, Hugh Hefner launched a new magazine, Playboy. Hefner purchased one of Kelley’s prints from the original calendar shoot and featured it in the very first is sue of the magazine, which sold over 50,000 copies.

The renowned early shot of Monroe doubtless played  a significant role in Playboy’s success and is now part of the Playboy Legacy Collection, a small selection of infamous shots of some of the most beautiful women to ever grace the pages of the magazine.

Ursula Andress, star of the fantastic James Bond  Dr No  scene in which the actress  emerges from the ocean in a white bikini, is another member of this exclusive Playboy club in the image she is Ursula Andress. A 1965 portrait taken by John Derek, her then husband, sees Andress reclining against a waterfall and is a  stunning portrayal of her confident sexuality.

When asked why she had agreed to the shoot, Andress  replied: “Because I’m beautiful.” Her response is in stark contrast to Monroe’s claims that she needed the money from her early calendars for rent, but each gives the images themselves a  backstory, adding the women’s identities to the images along with their physical sexuality.

Fine Art Nudes

Away from the glossy shots of Playboy is an area of  nudes more influenced by  artistic form and representation. Renowned artists  like Barry Lategan and Sanders Nicolson may work with the nude form in their piece s, but it’s their adaptation and playful inspiration which makes their shots iconic;  these artists provide an  interpretation of the female form as opposed to simply capturing the form which  they find before them.

Barry Lategan’s work has taken him from working with fashion royalty like Twiggy, who he is credited with having discovered, to shooting political figures including Margaret Thatcher. But it is some of his personal work that is most striking in its  originality.

Body in Satin, for example, or Bum & Plum are both  playful shots, highlighting his  own focus on the female form and allowing the viewer to take an alternative look at  the human body away from the forms we’ve become accustomed to.

Sanders Nicolson is another photographer who, while he enjoys a successful  advertising career, has always been passionate about fine art and creating  something under his own brief and influence. Nicolson’s work has created some striking imagery that creates a very erotic but equally emotional connection  between his subjects and the viewer.

Personal Choice

As with all art, buying the right nude image is about personal choice. But one thing to keep in mind is the diversity of this genre, it  portrays sexuality in its many different guises as well as touching on new interpretations of the human form. On top of this of course, is the simple fact that this genre features shots of some of the  most beautiful women in the world.  

Rue Aubriot / Le Smoking

Rue Aubriot-Le Smoking Photography Print
Controversial. Sexual. Timeless. Rue Aubriot is known to many as ‘Le Smoking’ but by whichever name you came across this fantastic image, it is instantly recognisable as the work of Helmut Newton and a piece well worth showcasing.

Newton’s art redefined the portrayal of women and to some, Rue Aubriot is the culmination of this: the light, the androgynous model and of course, the Yves Saint Laurent jacket all coming together to create a new strong femininity and a powerful sexuality that was symptomatic of its time and yet still relevant today.

His portrayal of women is something Newton has been both praised and criticised for. Much of his work has an overtly sexual focus and there have been times when it has been accused of overstepping the boundary between art and pornographic voyeurism.

Whichever side of the line you find yourself on, however, there is no denying that Newton’s work is beautiful and shocking. In analysing his pieces, it’s also worth remembering that Newton himself always stated with confidence that his work was about celebrating his love and admiration of women more than anything else – although it’s true that he also aspired to be seen as an agent provocateur.

A Statement Piece

In working with the YSL jacket, a piece which was first shown by the designer in 1966 as part of the Autumn/Winter ‘Pop Art’ collection, Helmut Newton found the perfect complement to his work, this stylised masculine item of fashion, reimagined on a female form.

The photograph itself was taken in the 1970s as part of a fashion shoot for French Vogue. Newton worked with a beautiful model and shot his work in a softly lit alley in Paris. There were other equally well-known images in the series, including one of a second female model, naked other than her simple black heels and entwined in a casual embrace with the woman in the Le Smoking jacket.

Newton used the shots as part of his publicity material with French fashion houses and magazines of the time. Many of the images he distributed in this way were printed by himself and a rare number have survived the decades.

Vintage Limited Edition Prints

ONGallery is among the handful of global outlets to have secured some of these world renowned prints. A limited number of pre-1985 printed photographs, authenticated by the artist’s former US agent Norman Solomon, can be viewed and purchased directly through the site.

The piece is one of the team’s favourites and is something we’re proud to hang in our office as a celebration of the strength of style and simplicity in art. Find out more about how you can own a limited edition vintage print of Rue Aubriot here.