September 14, 2011
Brian Duffy self-portrait 1968
Hidden amongst a maze of vast pine, oak and cypress forests, cavernous gorges, caves and vineyards, lies the town of La-Garde-Freinet, in the Var department of Provence, the lesser known neighbour of the glamorous Cote d’Azur.
It is however, this tranquil and natural setting that has attracted a steady flow of artists and developed a comparatively clandestine artistic community. And it is within this albeit furtive community that the Galerie Aalders stands, opened by local British expat Michael Aalders, who had a dream to offer lunch and art viewing in the Maures mountains.
It is within the walls of the Galerie Aalders that the work of Brian Duffy can be found, a celebrated English photographer and film producer, who is best remembered for his fashion photography during the 60s and 70s, and, even more specifically, for his iconic image of David Bowie on the cover of the Aladdin Sane album in 1973.
Brian Duffy, through his inspirational fashion photography, really encapsulated the mood of the 1960s and alongside the likes of Terrance Donovan and David Bailey, became a symbol of this progressive and alternative era.
Since his death last year, Brian Duffy’s work has gathered even greater prominence and esteem. In celebration of the revered photographer, the Galerie Aalders, in this comparatively sleepy corner of Provence, is displaying a selection of Duffy’s most tantalising and exceptional of images.
This rare exhibition was put on by Chris Duffy, Brian Duffy’s son and Mike Aalders, who collaborated with the photographer extensively throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
The Galarie Aalders and the artists the tranquil village of La-Garde-Freinet attracts have been described as being the “hidden gem” of the Cote d’Azur and its neighbouring communities. By providing visitors to the region with a rare opportunity to see some of the rarest photographs that encapsulate this iconic era, the Brian Duffy exhibition at the Galerie Aalders can also be described as being a “hidden gem” – a “hidden gem” within the art world.