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Yevonde: Life and Colour

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Self-Portrait with Vivex One-Shot Camera by Yevonde (1937), National Portrait Gallery.

An exploration of the ground-breaking work of 20th century British photographer, Yevonde.

Supported by the CHANEL Culture Fund, Yevonde: Life and Colour is the first major exhibition as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s reopening on 22 June and will include over 25 newly discovered photographs. Yevonde was a pioneer of colour photography in the 1930s and with over 150 works displayed, Yevonde: Life and Colour will survey the portraits, commercial commissioned work and still lives that the artist produced throughout her sixty-year career. Showcasing photographs of some of the most famous faces of the time – from George Bernard Shaw to Vivien Leigh, and John Gielgud to Princess Alexandra – the exhibition positions Yevonde as a trailblazer in the history of British portrait photography. The exhibition will focus on the freedom photography afforded Yevonde, who became an innovator in new techniques, experimenting with solarisation and the Vivex colour process. A previously unseen self-portrait in vivid Vivex tricolour from 1937 has been uncovered and will be displayed as part of the exhibition. 

With support from the CHANEL Culture Fund, the exhibition builds on Reframing Narratives: Women in Portraiture, a major three-year project which has seen the representation of women across the Gallery’s Collection enhanced, with a particular focus on 20th and 21st century portraiture. In addition to this exhibition, when the Gallery reopens 48% of portraits on the walls of post-1900 galleries will be of women.

Yevonde: Life and Colour: 22 June – 15 October 2023

Further Information: Yevonde: Life and Colour - National Portrait Gallery