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Boris Lipnitzki le magnifique

Françoise Denoyelle

He was a Jewish Ukrainian from Odessa – and changed his name once he settled in France with his family. Haïm Lipnitzky, born in 1887, was a violinist for a brief period in the Istanbul of white Russians, became Boris Lipnitzki in 1920. He also changed profession and became a photographer. Thanks to his ease to talk to people and to socialize, he quickly knit relations with ‘people’ that count, first of all the great couturier Paul Poiret, then Chanel, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, and he contributed to give their collections a wide audience. He also photographed Louis Jouvet, Joséphine Baker, Serge Lifar, Antonin Artaud, who all appear in this book. How could he not see ‘la vie en rose’ with a very young, 21 year old Edith Piaf -in 1936-, with an equally youthful Charles Trénet, who swallowed the world in his convertible - in August 1939. But the war is around the corner and the Lipnitzki studio becomes Aryan and he himself must once again flee, first to Cuba then to the USA. But he came back to France, constantly renewing is style, now photographing writers or the new singers for the covers of the 45 records… When he died in 1971, his studio owned nearly one million images and represented one of the most important archives of a French half-century.

Boris Lipnitzki le magnifique by Françoise Denoyelle, Nicolas Chaudun Publishers, 2013, 208 p., €39.

Boris Lipnitzki le magnifique - Françoise Denoyelle

Review published in the newsletter #335 - from 27 February 2014 to 5 March 2014

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