01 April 2009By Philipp Lausberg / Special to The Moscow TimesFor some people, Gunter Sachs is more famous for his playboy lifestyle in the 1960s and for being the former husband of Brigitte Bardot than for his contribution to the world of art, but that is the focus of the new exhibition "Gunter Sachs. Photographer and Collector" at the State Museum-Reserve Tsaritsyno, part of the Fashion and Style in Photography festival.
The show pays tribute to the eclectic abilities of the 76-year old, displaying his photography, film and design as well as some of his vast art collection.
Put together, it bears testimony to Sachs' extraordinary life from when the heir to the German industrial giant, Fichtel & Sachs, cut a trail through the glamour spots of St. Tropez and St. Moritz in the 1960s, his time as the head of a Munich art museum and his work as an artist.
A bobsleigh champion in his youth, he became a renowned photographer, documentary filmmaker and art collector who introduced Andy Warhol to Europe and discovered Claudia Schiffer.
Sachs was among the first to promote pop art and surrealism in Europe as president of the Museum of Modern Art in Munich. With personal contacts with artists like Cesar, Salvador Dali, Alan Jones, Andy Warhol, Jean Fautrier, he contributed greatly to the popularization of modern art.
"Like few others, Gunter Sachs has followed and influenced the development of modern art over the past 50 years," said Yosef Kiblitsky, curator of the exhibition.
Much of the space at Tsaritsyno is full of images of beautiful, and often naked, women — such as one of a woman with blue paint hovering above her nude body — in celebration of female sensuality.
Sachs has been a filmmaker, photographer and collector in his long career.
''Women are the most aesthetic beings on earth, and I'm convinced God wanted it that way," he said at the exhibition opening. "If a squirrel male was able to photograph, it would take pictures of his female."
Among the women Sachs has photographed is Claudia Schiffer, a close friend of the artist, who appears in the exhibition dressed as 13 famous women including Marlene Dietrich, Mata Hari and Scheherazade in his "Heroines" series.
Despite the multitude of beautiful women in his life, Sachs is not keen on the term playboy, dismissing it as untrue. His manager Ralph Missi said it was Sachs who invented the term, but in its original meaning it meant "a stylish man with good taste who knows how to enjoy life."
As important a theme as women at the exhibition is pop art and the life that Sachs and those around him led in the 1960s and 1970s. Part of the Palace Hotel St. Mortiz, where artists Tom Wesselman, Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein created a legendary pop art apartment in 1969, is recreated with original design pieces and photos.
An entire room is dedicated to Warhol and his works, including one painting of Bardot that the artist made for Sachs, who was at the time married to the French actress.
Sachs has held exhibitions in Russia before, but the collection currently on display in Tsaritsyno has only ever been seen once before in Leipzig, Germany, last year where it drew record numbers.