Photographer Alberto Rizzo gave Mad Men fashion its glamour

Alberto Rizzo was the most important and creative fashion photographer of the Mad Men era – his artful productions lent haute couture from the 1960s and ’70s its glamour. Now, Phillips is presenting a selling exhibition of three dozen photographs from the great avant-gardist in New York…

Alberto Rizzo might have become famous as a fashion photographer, but the native Italian was a man of countless artistic talents. Having studied not only painting but also graphic design at the Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, he worked as a ballet dancer for several years, before moving to California in the early 1960s to work with Fred Astaire. 

At the same time, he started taking photographs and soon moved to New York  to work for major magazines ranging from Harper’s Bazaar to Vanity Fair and Vogue. His award-winning works were inspired by the art of classical modernism, surrealism and expressionism. He staged the fashion of the season in the style of Matisse’s silhouettes, using the latest jewellery to create mysterious still life images reminiscent of Man Ray’s work and interpreting Andy Warhol’s pop collage with elegant pumps and gloves. 

In the new exhibition Silhouette: Fashion Photographs by Alberto Rizzo, which will run from 4–9 December at Phillips in New York, a selection of 36 style-influencing works of the great fashion photographer and artist will be shown. The prices of each piece are available from Phillips upon request. 

Photos: Alberto Rizzo via Phillips