In 2017, Palais Galliera received an exceptional donation of original prints by photographer Jean Moral, which came from the private collection of Brigitte Planté Moral, daughter of Jean Moral and Juliette Bastide.
In the thirties, Jean Moral (1906-1999) renewed fashion photography with outdoor shots. Eclipsed by the American Munkaczi in an essentially Anglo-Saxon history of fashion photography, he was the only French photographer to work during these years for Harper's Bazaar. His images influenced Richard Avedon, Bob Richardson and the proponents of realistic fashion photography.
Hired by Harper’s Bazaar in 1933 to photograph the Paris collections, he quickly fled from the studios to capture his models on the street. These were images of dynamic, smiling women, where we can see the influence of Moral’s natural, joyous nude photos of his wife Juliette on the beach; these photos were frequently published and exhibited and made him famous.
Known for his thirst for freedom and taste for sports and the outdoor life, and having experimented with the modernist reporting and visual research characteristic of the era, Jean Moral breathed a spontaneity and freshness into the pages of Harper's Bazaar that were in striking contrast to sophisticated studio images. He photographed easy-to-wear daytime fashion, wool suits or printed summer dresses, coats and sports outfits. The greatest names in haute couture were represented in his images, including Schiaparelli, Molyneux, Mainbocher, Rochas and Chanel. Harper’s Bazaar had the Paris collections photographed until July 1940, and Jean Moral used a deserted and protected Paris as a background. After the war, he would work again for Harper’s Bazaar, from 1946 to 1952.
The photos chosen retrace the essential part of Jean Moral's work at Harper's Bazaar from 1933 to 1940, when his style was at its most innovative. They comprise a selection of 235 original prints, 106 cardboard backings with proof sheets pasted on front and back and 24 proof sheets. The set of cardboard-backed proof sheets is unique: Jean Morel chose certain of his images to make proof sheets that were pasted in a specifically defined order to create brief visual sequences. They reveal his way of working and thinking about the work once he had started on a contracted project.
To document this major donation, the museum has purchased Brigitte Moral's Harper's Bazaar collection (130 issues, from 1933 to 1956). Jean Morel's fashion photographs had all been ordered and were published for these issues. Harper’s Bazaar also contracted some of the era's leading names, such as Munkacsi, Horst, Hoyningen-Huene and Man Ray, making this collection an outstanding addition to the Galliera Museum library.