Signature of Elegance Lillian Bassman Photo Exhibition

CARMEN, early 1950’s © Lillian Bassman

CARMEN, early 1950’s © Lillian Bassman

2014.4.19 SAT - 5.11 SUN

10:00 - 17:00 Closed on every Thursday except May 1 / Free admission

Ryukoku University
Omiya Campus Main Hall
125-1 Daiku-cho, Shichijo-dori, Omiya Higashi-iru,Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8268
JR Line: ”Kyoto Station” 10 minutes on foot from Karasuma exit

Complemented by
"Lillian Bassman and Harper's BAZAAR" Hearst Fujingaho presents


We are pleased to announce that “Signature of Elegance – works by Lillian Bassman” will be held at Ryukoku University as part of the official program for the KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival following up its event at CHNEL NEXUS HALL.

Lillian Bassman was a leading fashion photographer of the legendary postwar generation that brought a new sense of freedom to the medium. Bassman began her career as a photographer at Harper’s Bazaar in 1948 and she was one of its leading contributors during the years of its greatest influence. Over the next twenty years, working with all of the major models of the day, she assembled a definitive body of work that captured the inner lives of sophisticated women. She turned from fashion photography to more personal forms of expression in the 1970s, but in the late 1996, at the age of seventy-nine, she returned to fashion photography, and since then her contributions to photography have gained her an international following.

This exhibition brings together a selection of some of Lillian’s iconic images over the period of her long artistic life at Ryukoku University Omiya Campus the Main Hall, an important cultural property.

Ryukoku University Omiya Campus, The Main Hall
Built in 1879, this symbolic building of the Omiya Campus is designated an important cultural property. Recent major renovation has restored it to its original elegant state. The first floor is occasionally used for exhibitions by student curators.


Lillian Bassman

Lillian Bassman was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1917 of Jewish immigrant parents from the Ukraine and Lithuania. In 1935 she joined the Federal Art Project of the WPA as an assistant painter. In 1941 she became assistant to Alexey Brodovitch, the art director of Harper’s Bazaar, and by 1945 she was art director of Junior Bazaar. In 1948 she received her first photography assignment for the Bazaar, and in 1951 she launched the Bassman-Himmel Studio with her husband, Paul Himmel. Over the next twenty years, they both worked as fashion photographers. She received the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Photography in 2004, by which time she had an international following and numerous exhibitions. She died in 2012 at the age of ninety-four.