Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.
Rakewell is not renowned for an interest in slick gloss but amid the rubble of news, we couldn’t help but notice the shiny bauble of an announcement from Christie’s: the collection of actor and superstar Richard Gere’s photography collection.
Richard Gere is known for many things – his performance in American Gigolo (1980) opposite Lauren Hutton, in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) and in Pretty Woman (1990) opposite Julia Roberts. There’s a certain unity about these roles and the range that they demanded from their leading man which might best be summed up as ‘image making’.
Indeed, the scenes that included Richard Gere’s wardrobe in American Gigolo are said to have launched Italian designer Armani as a Hollywood staple. And this is to say nothing of Richard Gere’s moment as the object of arch technician Robert Mapplethorpe’s wicked camera.
But if people know anything else about Richard Gere they know he is a Buddhist, so it’s no surprise that his comments about the sale of his collection refer less to the photographers and their place in the history of photography and more to his soul. He says: ‘These photographs arrived in my life because I felt something for them. They have real soul, a humanity, a generosity.’ Rakewell has tried to encourage the arrival of wonderful artworks in our life through feeling but so far to no avail.
The works themselves are by blue chip artists: Edward Weston, Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Diane Arbus. Amid these giants of the photography market it might feel disingenuous to be lining up one’s appreciation of them due to their ‘understanding of the universe’, but who are we to complain? The items are undoubtedly striking, even if a collection of black-and-white photographs and Armani suits brings with it the slight whiff of American Psycho. We suppose that as well as revealing a Hollywood star’s taste, the collection allows us to appreciate the star’s perspective. As many a fan has said of Richard Gere, if only everyone’s soul looked this good.
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