Vanity Fair portraits and Steichen on display

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cary grant liza minnelli philip johnson bette davis steichen yachts steichen dancers
The art of celebrity is on display for all to see. Starting on Sept 26, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are launching two complementary exhibitions and I couldn’t be more excited. I think it’s pretty smart that two of Toronto’s major cultural institutions have decided to join forces. First, at the AGO, there is the Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Cond© Nast Years, 1923-1937. Steichen, one of the most revered photographers of the 20th century showcases his fashion photography and portraits. (Ladies be prepared to see some stunning vintage outfits.) As chief photographer at Vogue and Vanity Fair in the 1920s and ’30s,  he has a brag-worthy portfolio. He shot many extraordinary characters in the amazing designs of Chanel, Lanvin, Patou and Schiaparelli. Check out some of Steichen’s work below:

If you haven’t had your art fix, you can go head from the AGO to the ROM ‘s Vanity Fair Portraits: Photographs 1913-2008, presented by the Bay. I went to see the Vanity Fair exhibit at LACMA in Los Angeles last year and was still just as blown away a year later. I ran around looking for my favourite shots and I wasn’t disappointed. Whether you like celebs or not the photography is stunning. The ROM will be the only Canadian venue to display the portraits and you can check out 146 shots featuring the likes of Demi Moore, George Bush, Albert Einstein and Katharine Hepburn. And how could forget epic portraits of Gary Cooper and Cary Grant. (They just don’t make men like that anymore.) Check them out below:

I love Bette Davis’ pants.

You can’t help but smile at this one.

If you ever watched Arrested Development, this shot makes me think of her as Lucille Two!

I actually swooned over this photo. Sighhhh.

You don’t have to be an art lover to check out these collections. These star-studded exhibitions will be a fun day to spend with friends or even just for those who appreciate fantastic pieces of portraiture. And you can purchase a lovely book of the Vanity Fairportraits that I plan on getting for my coffee table asap. And not only do the ROM and AGO both have funky new architecture to boast about but now they’ll both feature member benefits, select joint programming, and discount incentives so that visitors to either exhibition can retain their ticket stubs for presentation at the other venue to receive twenty percent off the cost of admission. Now you have no excuse not to go out and get cultured.

– Kate Daley