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Alexey Brodovitch: Astonish Me

March 3 – May 19, 2024

About the Exhibition

Alexey Brodovitch (American, born Russia, 1898–1971) was a graphic designer, instructor, illustrator, and photographer who spent formative periods of his career in Paris, Philadelphia, and New York. His artistic pursuits were surprising and diverse, in an era when creatives were free to experiment across media.

Brodovitch is perhaps known best for being the art director of the US fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar for nearly a quarter century (1934–58). There, he ushered in a bold new aesthetic, drawing on European modernism and making photography the cornerstone of the magazine’s identity. Through his work at Bazaar and his legendary design classes in Philadelphia and New York, Brodovitch influenced a generation of American and emigré photographers, including Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Lillian Bassman, and Eve Arnold. Though distinct in style, they are unified by their embrace of Brodovitch’s dictum: “Astonish me.”

Alexey Brodovitch: Astonish Me, presented in the Roberts Gallery, follows the trajectory of Brodovitch’s career and influence through personal stories and case studies. Featuring original and collaborative works by Brodovitch and his protégés, it illuminates the breadth of his impact on print culture today and shows that his legacy is all around us.

The Barnes is proud to present the first major US exhibition devoted to Brodovitch, who, like Dr. Albert Barnes, played a vital role in introducing modern European art to American audiences.

“All designers, all photographers, all art directors, whether they know it or not, are students of Alexey Brodovitch.” Irving Penn


Alexey Brodovitch reviewing page layouts for Richard Avedon’s Observations, 1959. Photo by Hiro. © 2024 Estate of Y. Hiro Wakabayashi

Exhibition Organization

Organized by the Barnes and curated by consulting curator Katy Wan, Managing Curator, D.Daskalopoulos Collection Gift, Tate Modern, London.


Alexey Brodovitch: Astonish Me


This illustrated volume explores the significance of Brodovitch—his career and personal projects as well as his mentorship of an array of celebrated documentary and fashion photographers. The authors address Brodovitch’s impact on photography as an artistic medium in the mid-20th century and explore how European art and design became the foundation of a new American print culture. Paperback with slipcase; 174 pages


Alexey Brodovitch: Astonish Me is sponsored by:

Key support is provided by the David Berg Foundation.

Additional support comes from the Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation, Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan, Hearst, Donna and Jerry Slipakoff, and other individuals.

Ongoing support for exhibitions comes from the Christine and Michael Angelakis Exhibition Fund, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, the Lois and Julian Brodsky Exhibition Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, the Christine and George Henisee Exhibition Fund, Aileen and Brian Roberts, and the Tom and Margaret Lehr Whitford Exhibition Fund.

Lead support for the exhibition publication is provided by the Richard C. von Hess Foundation. Additional support is provided by the Lois and Julian Brodsky Publications Fund and Furthermore: a program of the J. M. Kaplan Fund.

In addition, funding for all exhibitions comes from contributors to the Barnes Foundation Exhibition Fund:

Joan Carter and John Aglialoro, Julia and David Fleischner, Leigh and John Middleton, Jeanette and Joe Neubauer

John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Lois and Julian Brodsky, N. Judith Broudy, Laura T. Buck, Elaine W. Camarda and A. Morris Williams, Jr., Eugene and Michelle Dubay, Penelope P. Harris, Jones & Wajahat Family, Lisa D. Kabnick and John H. McFadden, Victor F. Keen and Jeanne Ruddy, Marguerite Lenfest, Maribeth and Steven Lerner, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, Hilarie and Mitchell Morgan, The Park Family, Wendy and Mark Rayfield, Anne and Bruce Robinson, Adele K. Schaeffer, Katie and Tony Schaeffer, Dr. and Mrs. Eugene E. Stark, Joan F. Thalheimer, Bruce and Robbi Toll, van Beuren Charitable Foundation, The Victory Foundation, Kirsten White, Randi Zemsky and Bob Lane, Anonymous.