He may be one of Britain’s most famous photographers, but David Bailey has been conspicuously absent when it comes to major exhibitions of his work in our public art galleries.
Now The National Portrait Gallery has announced a comprehensive retrospective of the iconic bad boy snapper, with a welcome selection of more than 250 portraits specially chosen by Bailey himself.
© David Bailey
Opening in February 2014 before touring the UK, the exhibition, called Bailey’s Stardust, is one of the biggest shows ever staged by the gallery. As well as including the inevitable new portrait of Kate Moss, it offers the long overdue chance to see some of his most famous portraits and previously unseen work including images from his 2012 travels to the Naga Hills in India.
The show will include a range of shots spanning more than half a century and a roll call of actors, writers, musicians, politicians, filmmakers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels – all of them newly printed by Bailey in a series of stunning black and white sliver gelatin prints.
The gallery is promising a wide range of sitters from the "glamorous" and "impoverished" to the famous and notorious.
It will be thematically arranged with rooms devoted to Bailey’s time in Australia and India as well as icons from the worlds of fashion and the arts and the people of the East End of London.
Documentary photographs from Bailey's expedition to Papua New Guinea, in 1974, also feature alongside images of those devastated by the famine in east Africa, taken in support of the Band Aid charity in 1985.
Sandy Nairne, the Director of the National Portrait Gallery, describes Bailey’s Stardust as “a very special event”.
“It offers an exceptional opportunity to enjoy the widest range of the mercurial portraits created by David Bailey, one of the world’s greatest image-makers," he adds.
The Rolling Stones and Bailey’s wife, the model Catherine Bailey, will feature heavily and there will be copious selections from two of his most acclaimed bodies of work: the Box of Pin-Ups, featuring key faces of the 1960s, and his series of naked photographs Bailey’s Democracy.
Bailey's Stardust runs at the National Portrait Gallery, London from February 6 – June 1 2014, sponsored by Hugo Boss.
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© David Bailey
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