Cecil Beaton: The New York Years, Opening Tomorrow at MCNY

– By Val Bitici –

Cecil Beaton, Self-Portrait on Brooklyn Bridge, 1929

Cecil Beaton once reflected: “Perhaps the world’s second-worst crime is boredom; the first is being a bore.” Born in London in 1904, Beaton moved to New York in the 1920s, in search of excitement and inspiration. The bon vivant called the city his home until the 1960s, when he moved back to England, but his impact on American culture remained long after he retreated to his place of birth.

To Beaton, as to many, New York City was the epicenter of creativity. For decades it served as the perfect inspirational backdrop for his talents. It was here that he launched a prolific career as a portrait photographer for Vanity Fair and Vogue, a profession that helped him form close friendships with celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Marilyn Monroe, and Andy Warhol. It was also the setting in which he blossomed into a spectacular draughtsman, and an award winning costume and set designer.

Starting tomorrow, the Museum of the City of New York will display a selection of these works and others created by Beaton during his years in New York. Cecil Beaton: The New York Years will showcase the artist’s photographs of celebrities and high society, as well as beautiful costume designs, and drawings that continue to earn him praise as a renaissance man.


Audrey Hepburn as Eliza Doolittle, by Cecil Beaton, 1963




Cecil Beaton: The New York Years 

Museum of the City of New York

October 25 – February 20. 

The accompanying exhibition catalogue published by Skira Rizzoli is now available online. 





Val Bitici is a writer, born and raised in manhattan. Since 2008, she has worked as part of Vanity Fair’s editorial team, sometimes contributing to vf.com. Val spends her free time blogging (miscv.tumblr.com), traveling, trying new restaurants, cooking, skiing, and dreaming about one day becoming an art collector. 




About the Author

Val is a writer and editor born and based in New York City. She started her editorial career at Teen Vogue, then moved on to Vanity Fair and Travel+Leisure. She is currently the head of content at StyleKist, a new social commerce app that allows fashionistas to shop and make commissions from their photo and video feeds. You may follow her @diaryofval