François Halard: Polaroïds Italiens

for Sotheby's

December 2017


This exhibition was the first presentation of François Halard’s oeuvre in England. Halard’s work has as much in common with painting as it does with photography. His images are personal impressions of the places they record – never literal or clinical, they are always nuanced. The particular atmospheres of his photographs, whether recording the Villa Malaparte in Capri or Cy Twombly’s Studio outside Rome, have made him the most well regarded and accomplished chronicler of interiors, architecture and gardens of our time. 

The works in this exhibition recorded some of Italy’s most eminent places but through the photographer's unique perspective we saw them anew. Halard shoots on film, often using natural light, and the Polaroids presented here are studies – sketches if you will – of the finished photographs that have appeared in various books and magazines. These unique Polaroids were made between the mid-1980s to the present-day and formed part of the photographer’s personal archive in Arles. 

'I was 16 when I first went to Italy. I remember photographing in black and white an Italian Renaissance garden near Verona: ‘Giardino Giusti’. It was the beginning of a collection of houses, places, gardens, artists and ruins... my own idea of the Italian Grand Tour. When you surround yourself with beauty, it helps you go on. Beauty is medicine for the soul.' - François Halard