Elton John and husband, David Furnish will have a photography gallery at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum named after them.
Elton says that he became a passionate photography collector after he stopped drinking and substance abuse nearly 30 years ago. Since then he’s amassed one of the world’s best private photo collections with some 7,000 photographs from Man Ray to David LaChapelle to Cindy Sherman.
When Elton collects a photographer’s work, he doesn’t just buy a single picture, he buys deep. I know many photographers who are in his collection, like my ex-Vanity Fair colleague, Maude Schuyler Clay. John acquired 9 images from Clay’s Mississippi History series.
The V&A has over 800,000 photographs in their collection, and phase one of their new photography center opened last October with phase two due to open in 2022.
John and Furnish had made a “significant” donation to the new photography center, and Gallery 101 will be renamed The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery.
John said the V&A was known for
“Its dedication to teaching, public research facilities and learning-based exhibitions… For David and I, this commitment to education and mission to celebrate the medium presents a perfect partnership.
The new photography centre, along with the 2022 extension, will not only elevate photography but it will help foster new artists, patrons and collectors like myself.
We are delighted to be part of this exciting moment and we hope that audiences will walk away with the same excitement and appreciation for photography, as I did when I first started collecting.”
Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A, said,
“We are united by a deep commitment to the medium and there are huge synergies between our collections, particularly around 20th-century modernist and contemporary color photography.”
John has supported major photography exhibitions in the past as a major lender to the V&A’s 2014 Horst P Horst retrospective and in 2016 Tate Modern staged a show with nearly 200 works from his collection.
(Photo, Avalon, David LaChapelle ; via The Guardian)