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Bettina Rheims

Bettina Rheims Biography

born Paris (FRANCE) 1952

Bettina Rheims (born December 18, 1952, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Paris) is a French artist and photographer. She's the daughter of Maurice Rheims, of the French Academy. Her sister Nathalie is an actress, writer and film producer.

She started as a model, then opened an art gallery, before turning to photography in 1978. She did many commissionned works (albums covers, such as for Jean-Jacques Goldman; photos of various stars...); in 1995, she took the official photograph of Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic.

In 1992, she published chambre close, a series of photographs of nude young women in various postures. In 1998, she published, with Serge Bramly, I.N.R.I., retracing the life of Jesus in a contemporary settings. The book was controversial in Christian circles.

In 1978, at the age of 26 Bettina Rheims starts out photographing. After having worked as a model, as journalist and an art dealer, she devotes herself in 1980 solely to photography. She makes a first series of strip-tease artists and acrobats, which are shown 1981 in two personal exhibitions, at the Centre Pompidou and at the Galerie Texbraun in Paris. Encouraged by this success, she works on a series of stuffed animals portraits, which are exhibited in Paris and New York.

At the same time Bettina Rheims realizes portraits for worldwide magazines and advertisement campaigns (Well and Chanel), creates her first fashion series, cover sleeves, film posters and directs in 1986 her first advertising campaign.

In 1989 her works on women's portraits are published in a monograph, Female Trouble, and are exhibited in Germany and Japan. In the upcoming year Bettina Rheims realizes a series of portraits of androgynous teenagers, Modern Lovers, which are also edited and shown in France, Great Britain and the United States.

Her mythic series Chambre Close, which is realized between 1990 and 1992 in collaboration with Serge Bramly, meets an immense success not only in Europe but also all over the world. The book has become a bestseller in regularly reedited.

In the following years Bettina Rheims' fame started to invade all continents and she is renown now as a one of the most important photographers not only in Europe, but also in the Unites States, Japan, Korea, Australia and Moscow.

This consecration was confirmed by her series I.N.R.I. in 1999, an important photographic project retracing the main scenes of the Bible and the life of Jesus Christ realized in collaboration together with Serge Bramly. The book was published simultaneously in several countries (France, Germany, USA and Japan) and evoked a big scandal in France. The exhibition is still touring in different museums in Europe.

In 2000, Bettina Rheims publishes X'Mas, a series of photographs of young girls discovering their feminity.

Further on, in 2003 her book Shanghai, realized together with Serge Bramly after having spent 6 months in this city, is published by Robert Laffont. Bettina Rheims was portraying the city through the images of women of different backgrounds.

Her last publication MoreTrouble, published in 2004, is retracing ten years of her photography, mostly of famous women. At the same time Bettina Rheims' work is shown in a huge retrospective, where the first venues are: Helsinki, Oslo,Vienna, Dusseldorf and Brussels.

Select Timeline

  • 1986 - directed her first advertising campaign
  • 1989 - Bettina Rheims portraits of women were published in a monograph, Female Trouble
  • 1994 - Award of the Grand Prix de la Photographie of the City of Paris
  • 1995 - She took the official portrait photograph of Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic.
  • 1998 - Bettina Rheims published I.N.R.I. with Serge Bramly, retracing the life of Jesus in a contemporary settings
  • 2000 - Published X'Mas, a series of photographs of young girls discovering their feminity.
  • 2002 - Promoted by Jacques Chirac, President of the French Republic, to the grade of Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur for her whole career
  • 2003 - Rheims book Shanghai, portrayed the city through the images of women of different backgrounds.
  • 2004 - More Trouble, retraced ten years of her photography, mostly of famous women.

Select Exhibitions

  • 2007 - Bettina Rheims - Animal, Deyrolle, Paris
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Kunsthal, Rotterdam
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims - Heroines, Galerie Jerome de Noirmont, Paris
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims - Femmes, Maruani & Noirhomme Gallery, Knokke, Belgium
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Moscow House of Photography, Moscow
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Musee d'Art Contemporain, Lyon
  • 2006 - Bettina Rheims - Twenty Five Years, Cook Fine Art, New York
  • 2005 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, KunstHausWien, Vienne
  • 2005 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, NRW Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Dusseldorf
  • 2005 - I.N.R.I., Schloss Hartenfels, Torgau, Germany
  • 2005 - I.N.R.I., Salvatorkirche, Duisbug, Germany
  • 2005 - Bettina Rheims, Mediatheque d'Argentan
  • 2005 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Botanique Museum, Brussels
  • 2004 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Helsinki City Art Museum, Helsinki
  • 2004 - Bettina Rheims Retrospective, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
  • 2003 - I.N.R.I., MEO Contemporary Art Collection, Budapest
  • 2003 - Shanghai, Galerie Jerome de Noirmont, Paris
  • 2002 - Chambre Close - L'integrale, Galerie Jerome de Noirmont, Paris
  • 2002 - Chambre Close, Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
  • 2001 - Chic Tactique vu par Bettina Rheims, Le Printemps, Paris
  • 2001 - Le Printemps du Luxe, Le Printemps, Paris
  • 2000 - X'mas, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris
  • 1998 - The Museum Moscow of Photography, Photobiennal Moscow
  • 1998 - Modern Lovers, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
  • 1997 - Retrospective, Galerie Odakyu, Tokyo
  • 1997 - Retrospective, Kintetsu Museum, Osaka
  • 1997 - Anthologie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg
  • 1996 - Ouverture de la Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris
  • 1996 - Centre Culturel francais, Seoul
  • 1995 - Galerie Sho, Tokyo, Japan.
  • 1994 - Animal, Galerie Beaubourg, Vence
  • 1993 - Chambre Close, Galleria Photology, Milan
  • 1993 - Retrospective, Artotheque de Vitre
  • 1993 - Chambre Close, Galerie Bodo Niemann
  • 1992 - Chambre Close, Galerie Maeght, Paris
  • 1992 - Les Espionnes, Galerie Apicella, Cologne
  • 1992 - Aveugle, Visa pour l'Image, Perpignan
  • 1992 - Chambre Close, Hamiltons Gallery, London
  • 1991 - Galerie Municipale du Chateau d'Eau, Toulouse.
  • 1991 - Modern Lovers, Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles
  • 1991 - Modern Lovers, Robert Klein Gallery, Boston
  • 1991 - Modern Lovers, Pace MacGill Gallery, New York
  • 1990 - Namba City Hall, Osaka.
  • 1990 - Modern Lovers, Palais des Beaux Arts de Charleroi, Belgium
  • 1990 - Modern Lovers, Maison Europeenne de la Photographie, Paris
  • 1990 - Modern Lovers, Hamiltons Gallery, London
  • 1989 - Musee de l'Elysee, Lausanne.
  • 1989 - Stadtmuseum, Munich
  • 1989 - Parco Gallery, Tokyo
  • 1989 - Parco Gallery, Sapporo.
  • 1987 - Espace photographique de la Ville de Paris
  • 1983 - Portraits d'animaux, Galerie Texbraun, Paris
  • 1981 - Portraits, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  • 1981 - Portraits nus, Galerie Texbraun, Paris

Select Artwork

  • Chouette de dos, Juillet - 1983
  • I.N.R.I. - 1999
  • Maison Clos - 1995
  • Lesya, X.Mas Series - 1999
  • Sofia a la cigarette - 1989
  • Elizabeth Berkley stuck in bamboo bushes - 1995
  • Eva Herzigova holding her shoe as a deadly weapon - 2001
  • Asia Argento, etude, fevrier - 2005
  • Claudia VI, Paris - 1987
  • Elizabeth Berkley on a Thick Dirty Green Carpet - 1995

Publications

  • Portfolio: Femmes Fatales - Te Neues Pub Group (June 1999)
  • Bettina Rheims: Exhibition - Prestel Pub (October 1998)
  • Bettina Rheims: More Trouble - Prestel Pub (September 2004)
  • Bettina Rheims: Female Trouble - Schirmer/Mosel; New Ed edition (March 2002)
  • Bettina Rheims: Retrospective - Schirmer/Mosel (June 30, 2004)
  • I.N.R.I. - Monacelli (September 1, 1999)
  • Shanghai - powerHouse Books (November 2004)
  • Showgirls, Portrait of a Film , Photography by Douglas Kirkland, Bettina Rheims, Mary Ellen Mark, Murray Close - Newmarket Press (September 1995)

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