"I've been on my knees for days!" admits designer Juan Carlos Arcila-Duque. Coproprietor of the Design District showroom called ROOM and soon owner of a-d furniture interiors, Arcila-Duque hasn't taken on a new position as a presidential intern. He's just adding the job of curator to his résumé, since he's been spending his spare time sifting through 7000 photographs from the estate of German photographer Horst P. Horst.
Known for elegant dramatically lit shots of celebrities, interiors, and objects, Horst was born Horst Paul Albert Borhmann in 1906. A protégé of celebrated photographer George Hoyningen-Huene in the Thirties, he became a mono-monikered American citizen after World War II, hoping to dispel notions that he was related to Hitler crony Martin Bormann. Evident in his deftly arranged still lifes or his soigné portraits of notables such as designer Coco Chanel and artist Salvador Dalí that often were seen in Vogue and House & Garden, Horst had a distinctive tranquil style that borrowed heavily from classical paintings. The 93-year-old photographer died in 1999. Ironically he left behind an immense body of work that he considered journalism but the rest of the world embraced as art.
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Inspired by a show of Horst photos he saw last spring at New York City's Wessel + O'Connor Gallery, Arcila-Duque realized, "This is the kind of sophistication that needs to come down to Miami." And owing to his efforts, it will in a major retrospective, a first for South Florida. Several platinum prints will be displayed in a booth at Art Miami, which also will offer a lecture about the legendary lensman at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. For the next ten weeks Holly Hunt Showroom will exhibit more than 100 portraits, and ROOM will highlight a series of still lifes. "For photography it's an incredible moment in the world," notes Arcila-Duque. For Miami it will be too.