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Portraits of an Icon: Audrey Hepburn at National Portrait Gallery

Sunday 29th March, 2020

The fascinating life and career of celebrated film star, fashion icon and humanitarian, Audrey Hepburn, will be explored in a new photography exhibition opening at the National Portrait Gallery.

Audrey Hepburn: Portraits of an Icon, from 2 July until 18 October 2015, will follow Hepburn’s rise to fame, from her early years in Holland and as a dancer and chorus girl in London’s West End, to her becoming a stage and screen icon, culminating in her philanthropic work in later life. The exhibition will showcase rarely seen photographs from the collection of the Hepburn family along with iconic portraits of Hepburn by leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Angus McBean, Irving Penn and Norman Parkinson.

Highlights from the exhibition will include family photographs of Hepburn practising ballet as a young woman, and examples of her early work in London as a fashion model for photographs by Antony Beauchamp, in addition to the highly successful Crookes Lacto-Calamine skin cream campaign.

Also included in the exhibition will be vintage magazine spreads, from the Picturegoer in 1952 to the front cover of Life magazine, featuring Hepburn in Givenchy for her role in Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, taken by Howell Conant. Original film posters and other ephemera will complete the story of one of the world’s most photographed women. 

Born in Brussels, Belgium, to a Dutch Baroness and Anglo-Irish father, Hepburn moved to London from Amsterdam to take up a ballet scholarship at the Rambert Ballet School in Notting Hill. After a number of important stage performances as a chorus girl in the West End, Hepburn made her earliest film debuts in British films. Her critically acclaimed stage performance in Gigi  introduced Hepburn to American theatre audiences and confirmed her position as a new star. Hepburn’s career flourished with a string of highly successful roles, and she became the first actress to win an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award for a single performance (her leading role in Roman Holiday). Hepburn worked as a Unicef ambassador from 1988 until her death in 1993. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 in recognition of her contribution to the arts and her humanitarian work. 

AUDREY HEPBURN: PORTRAITS OF AN ICON; the exhibition runs from 2 July until 18 October 2015 at the National Portrait Gallery, London; Admission charges: adult: £9 / concessions £7.50; i: npg.org.uk/hepburn

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