Never seen before photographs from the private collection of Elton John and husband David Furnish will go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum next year.
The exhibition, titled Fragile Beauty, will be the V&A’s largest temporary photography exhibition to date, showcasing more than 300 rare prints from over 140 photographers – the majority of which will be on display to the public for the first time.
John and Canadian filmmaker Furnish, who have been together since 1993, own an impressive collection of works by the world’s leading contemporary photographers.
Works by American photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus, and Sally Mann will be exhibited alongside photography by Ai Weiwei, Carrie Mae Weems, and South African artist Zanele Muholi.
In celebration of 30 years of collecting artwork together, the exhibition will recognise the couple’s passion for photography across eight themes, including fashion, reportage, celebrity, the male body, and American photography.
It is promised that Fragile Beauty will feature a range of portraits of starry faces from stage and screen, including photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Miles Davis, and Chet Baker.
Key historical moments, including the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, AIDs activism, and the events of 11 September 2001, will all be chronicled within the hundreds of prints on display.
John and Furnish said that their relationship with the V&A has grown since they first loaned a selection of photographs by German-American fashion photographer Horst to the west London museum in 2014.
“Fragile Beauty takes our collaboration to really exciting new heights, showcasing some of the most beloved photographers and iconic images from within our collection,” the couple said in a statement.
“Working alongside the V&A again has been a truly memorable experience, and we look forward to sharing this exhibition with the public.”
The “Rocket Man” singer and his husband are known for their world-class photography collections. In 2016, the Tate Modern exhibited The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection, in which the singer’s classic modernist photography collection from the 1920s to 1950s went on display. It included portraits of Matisse, Picasso, and Breton.
Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection will go on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 18 May 2024 to 5 January 2025.