The Victoria and Albert Museum has announced it will present a major photography exhibition from the private collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish next year.
“Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection” will include over 300 modern and contemporary prints from more than 140 photographers, with most of them on display to the public for the first time. The images range from the 1950s to the present.
“Fragile Beauty takes our collaboration to really exciting new heights, showcasing some of the most beloved photographers and iconic images from within our collection,” Sir Elton John and David Furnish said in a press statement. “Working alongside the V&A again has been a truly memorable experience, and we look forward to sharing this exhibition with the public.”
The artists include major names such as Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston, Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Zanele Muholi, Ai Weiwei, and Carrie Mae Weems.
The selection from the British music icon and Canadian filmmaker’s photography collection also includes fashion images, news events, celebrity portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Miles Davis, and Chet Baker, as well as photojournalism from important historical moments such as the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, AIDS activism in the 1980s and September 11, 2001.
The “Rocket Man” singer began collecting photographs in 1991, shortly after getting sober, according to the Associated Press. The couple’s private collection has grown to more than 7,000 fine art photographs, one of the largest ones of its kind in the world.
John and Furnish also lent photographs by fashion photographer Horst P. Horst to the V&A in 2014, and made a “significant donation to the museum” in 2019 that led to the renaming of a room in its photography center to the The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery.
In 2016, selections from the celebrity couple’s collection were shown at the Tate Modern for the exhibition “The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection“.
“Fragile Beauty” will take place at The Sainsbury Gallery in V&A South Kensington from May 18, 2024 until Jan. 5, 2025.