KUNST HAUS WIEN is holding a retrospective devoted to the oeuvre of Linda McCartney, one of the most interesting photographers of the 20th century. The exhibition, which is the first comprehensive retrospective of McCartney’s works worldwide, presents 190 of her iconic photographs of sixties rock and roll, her family life and nature. It has been produced by KUNST HAUS WIEN in cooperation with Linda Enterprises Ltd.
Linda McCartney, who was born Linda Eastman in 1941 in New York, had a passion for photography. Her fascination with music led her to immerse herself in the musical scenes of New York, California and London, documenting the “swinging sixties” with her portraits of stars such as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Aretha Franklin and Simon & Garfunkel. The palpable atmosphere of closeness and informality in her fresh, candid photographs makes her approach to portraiture unique.A chance opportunity to photograph The Rolling Stones at a press conference in June 1966 to promote the album “Aftermath” on a yacht on the Hudson River in New York was a breakthrough for the young photographer. In 1968, when her portrait of Eric Clapton was featured on the cover of “Rolling Stone”, she became the first woman to have this honour.
Linda photographed The Beatles at the launch of their album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“ in 1967. Paul and Linda fell in love, and got married two years later. Linda’s photographic world expanded to encompass her family life raising four children with Paul, as well as the final years of The Beatles, Wings tours, and more peaceful times in the country in Sussex and Scotland. Linda McCartney’s everyday scenes, which reflect the warmth of her devotion to her family, reveal her alertness to the poetry of the moment as well as to humorous or surreal situations, and stand on an equal footing in her oeuvre with her famous portraits. These works, too, demonstrate her distinctive personal style: a casual elegance combined with an instinctive feeling for capturing the subject at just the right instant.
In her later life, Linda McCartney returned to the early interests that had influenced her development as a photographer. Her love of the fine arts had been sparked by her encounters with numerous prominent artists and led her to study art history at university. Her particular enthusiasm for the medium of photography, its history and its processes inspired her to experiment with techniques from the early days of photography. A considerable number of portraits date back to this period, for instance of Willem de Kooning, Gilbert and George, Jim Jarmusch and Allen Ginsberg, some of which are included in the exhibition. Photographs of animals, plants, landscapes and still lifes – partly done as platinum prints and sun prints – as well as a documentary section with contact sheets, videos and other materials round off this retrospective of the lifework of a passionate photographer.
The exhibition has been produced by KUNST HAUS WIEN in cooperation with
Linda Enterprises Ltd. The curatorial work has been done by members of the
McCartney family and Andreas Hirsch, curator of KUNST HAUS WIEN,
in collaboration with Claudia Schmid of Linda Enterprises Ltd.