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  • Writer's pictureDimitri Ozerkov

Photographs by Annie Leibovitz in the collection of The State Hermitage Museum

The State Hermitage Museum is delighted to present photographs by Annie Leibovitz, which have been generously donated by the artist into the collection of the museum.

Annie Leibovitz (b. 1949) is one of the most celebrated photographers of our time. She began her career as a photojournalist for Rolling Stone in 1970, while she was still a student at the San Francisco Art Institute. Her pictures have appeared regularly on magazine covers ever since. Leibovitz's large and distinguished body of work encompasses some of the most memorable portraits of the modern era.

Leibovitz became Rolling Stone’s chief photographer in 1973, and by the time she left the magazine, ten years later, she had shot one hundred and forty-two covers and published photo essays on scores of stories, including her accounts of the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1974 and of the 1975 Rolling Stones tour. In 1983, when she joined the staff of the revived Vanity Fair, she was established as the foremost rock music photographer and an astute documentarian of the social landscape. At Vanity Fair, and later at Vogue, Leibovitz developed a large body of work—portraits of actors, directors, writers, musicians, athletes, and political and business figures, as well as fashion photographs—that expanded her collective portrait of contemporary life. In addition to her editorial work, she has created several award-winning advertising campaigns. She has also collaborated with many arts organizations. Leibovitz has a special interest in dance, and in 1990 she documented the creation of the White Oak Dance Project with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris.

Leibovitz is the recipient of many honors, including the International Center of Photography’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Centenary Medal of the Royal Photographic Society in London, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities. She is a Commandeur in the French government's Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Leibovitz prefers to work not in the studio, but on location. Her subjects are customarily well-known and accomplished, but in an exhibition of her work shown at the Hermitage in 2011, she included personal work. Annie Leibovitz A Photographer’s Life 1990-2005, covered a period that was tumultuous in terms of her private life. Both her father and her long-time companion, the writer Susan Sontag, died. Her children were born. The exhibition included frank personal images as well as formal portraits of public figures, creating a somewhat contradictory whole that was held together by Leibovitz’s photographic eye. The Hermitage exhibition was a great success. In 2018 the artist donated to the museum nine of her works, which will be temporarily exhibited starting from October 18, 2018.

The exposition is organized by the Contemporary Art Department of the State Hermitage Museum in the frame of “The Hermitage 20/21 Project”, an ambitious program aimed at showcasing the best of contemporary art in the Hermitage and expanding the display of 20th century art.

The project is curated by Marina Shults, Deputy Head of Contemporary Art Department, and Daria Panaiotti, Contemporary Art Department, The State Hermitage. Museum.

The collection of photographs has been presented to the museum as a gift from their creator with the help of the Hermitage Museum Foundation (USA)

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