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Slim Aarons

American, 1916-2006

American photographer Slim Aarons captured the 20th century’s international jet set — U.S. socialites, European royalty, Hollywood stars — at play in sun-kissed locales like Monaco, Saint-Tropez and Palm Beach, as well as other luxurious settings around the globe.

Committed to eschewing makeup and artificial lighting, Aarons created images that are at once candid and polished, combining the relaxed posture of his subjects, who trusted him to document their lives, with the visual sharpness of a seasoned art director. Having gotten his start taking pictures for the U.S. military magazine Yank during World War II, he contributed over the course of his career to Life, Town and Country and Holiday magazines and published several books.

Aarons was born in Manhattan in 1916. He joined the army at 18, shooting military maneuvers at West Point before serving as a combat photographer, for which he was awarded a Purple Heart. After the war, he moved to California and began snapping socialites and movie stars. In the 1950s, he opened a bureau for Life magazine in Rome, where he took pictures capturing the postwar scene. Aarons was always able to win the trust of his elite subjects, who saw him as close to a peer, rather than a paparazzo. In a 2002 interview with The Independent, he remarked, ''I knew everyone. They would invite me to one of their parties because they knew I wouldn't hurt them. I was one of them.'' This access allowed Aarons to document the rich and famous with their guard down, reading newspapers and magazines, talking on the phone, relaxing by the pool, and chatting with friends. The 1957 photograph The Kings of Hollywood, for example, which won him wide acclaim, shows Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart laughing together as they celebrate New Year’s Eve.

Many of Aarons’s best-known images involve games and sports. In the 1972 Poolside Backgammon, two young women play the board game of the title against the backdrop of a majestic Acapulco estate. In 1958’s Cannes Watersports, a couple attempts to glide across the Golfe de la Napoule on Jet Skis, one expertly and one hanging on for dear life. And in Penthouse Pool, shot in Athens in 1961, a young woman wearing a yellow bathing cap smiles coyly at the camera, surrounded by friends and brightly colored seat cushions, with the Acropolis faintly visible in the background. Among Aarons’s books are 1974’s A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life, and its 2003 sequel, Once Upon a Time. His final book, A Place in the Sun, was published in 2005, one year before his death.

Find a collection of vintage Slim Aarons photography on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$3,152
Styles
Materials
Eden Roc Pool (Aarons Estate Edition)
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
Eden Roc Pool, 1976, Printed Later Chromogenic Lambda print Estate stamped and hand numbered edition of 150 with certificate of authenticity from the estate. Guests by the pool ...
Category

1970s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

C Print

Hotel Taormina Pool
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
The seaside swimming pool at the Hotel Taormina, Sicily, August 1975. Estate stamped and hand numbered edition of 150 with certificate of authenticity from the estate. Slim Aaro...
Category

1970s Realist Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Slim Aarons, Zermatt Skiing (Estate Edition)
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
Zermatt Skiing, 1968 Chromogenic Lambda Print Estate edition of 150 The apres-ski in Zermatt, Switzerland, March 1968. Estate stamped and hand numbered edition of 150 with certifi...
Category

1960s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Julie London (Aarons Estate Print)
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
1957: Singer Julie London enjoying breakfast in bed at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Estate stamped and hand numbered edition of 150 with certificate of authenticity from the estate. S...
Category

1950s Realist Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Slim Aarons, Poolside Pairs (Aarons Estate Edition)
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
Slim Aarons Poolside Pairs 1970 (printed later) C Print Estate signature stamped and numbered edition of 150 January 1970: The Kaufmann Desert House in Palm Springs, California, de...
Category

1970s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Slim Aarons 'Scrabble in Palm Springs'
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
Scrabble in Palm Springs 1970 (printed later) Chromogenic Lambda Print Estate edition of 150 A group of people playing a game of Scrabble, Palm Springs, southern California, January...
Category

1970s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Slim Aarons 'Having a Topping Time'
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
1959: Socialite Alice Topping relaxing at a poolside in Palm Beach. Estate stamped and hand numbered edition of 150 with certificate of authenticity from the estate. Slim Aarons...
Category

1950s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

Lambda

Slim Aarons, Poolside in Arizona (Slim Aarons Estate Edition)
By Slim Aarons
Located in New York, NY
Slim Aarons Poolside in Arizona 1973. (printed later) C print Estate stamped and numbered edition of 150 with Certificate of authenticity Guests by the pool at the home of Wayne B...
Category

1960s Modern Slim Aarons

Materials

C Print

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Galleries Featuring Slim Aarons

Galerie Prints
5 / 5
International Fine Arts Consortium - IFAC Arts
4.9 / 5
Undercurrent Projects
4.8 / 5
Edge Prints
4.9 / 5
Crane Kalman Gallery Brighton
5 / 5
Staley-Wise Gallery
5 / 5
NINETEENSIXTYEIGHT
No Reviews Yet
Provocateur Gallery
5 / 5
HK Art Advisory
No Reviews Yet

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