Angus McBean (1904-90) is considered as one of the most extraordinary and talented British photographers of the twentieth century. In a career that spanned from the 30’s to the 80’s, he became the most prominent British theatre photographer of his generation and, along with Cecil Beaton, the last of the British avant-garde studio photographers.
During the 30’s, Angus McBean developed Surrealist techniques, including the depiction of the actress Dorothy Dickson as a water lily. However, he knew how to be ahead of his times by photographing pop stars of the 50’s and 60’s such as Cliff Richard, Shirley Bassey and of course the Beatles! In the 80’s he took pictures of fashion icons such as Vivienne Westwood and the French “enfant terrible” Jean-Paul Gaultier.
His own auto-portraits, sent out as Christmas cards, reveal an eccentric and witty personality.
For the first time since he passed away in 1990, Angus McBean’s photographs of movie and theatre stars such as Vivienne Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Mae West or Audrey Hepburn, opera goddesses (Maria Callas, Dame Joan Sutherland) and prima ballerinas (Dame Margot Fonteyn) are brought together in a major retrospective exhibition that will be touring the UK.
Catherine Bromley /National Portrait Gallery
Angus Mc Bean/Portraits
National portrait gallery London
Report Anne Marie Le Blé
National Portrait Gallery
St Martin's Place
London WC2H 0HE