Photography from the private collection of Sir Elton John and David Furnish is to be exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) next year.
Titled Fragile Beauty, it will feature more than 300 “rare prints” from over 140 photographers including portraits of actress Marilyn Monroe and US jazz musicians Miles Davis and Chet Baker.
Running from May 18 2024 to January 5 2025 at the gallery in South Kensington, London, it is set to be the V&A’s largest temporary exhibition of photography to date.
The collection will span from the 1950s to the present day and will feature key moments of history from the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Aids activism of the 1980s and the events of September 11 2001.
Across eight thematic sections, it will also explore topics including fashion, celebrity, the male body and American photography.
Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei will be among those featured as well as photographers Robert Mapplethorpe, Cindy Sherman, William Eggleston,
Diane Arbus, Sally Mann, Carrie Mae Weems and Zanele Muholi.
Sir Elton and his husband Furnish said: “Since we first loaned a selection of Horst photographs to the V&A in 2014, our relationship with the museum has grown significantly.
“Fragile Beauty takes our collaboration to really exciting new heights, showcasing some of the most beloved photographers and iconic images from within our collection.
“Working alongside the V&A again has been a truly memorable experience, and we look forward to sharing this exhibition with the public.”
The exhibition is being curated by head of photography at the V&A Duncan Forbes, director of The Sir Elton John Photography Collection Newell Harbin and the V&A’s exhibition project curator Lydia Caston.
Sir Elton and Furnish’s partnership with the museum began in 2019 following their support of the V&A’s Photography Centre.
Curator Forbes said: “We are delighted to be working with Sir Elton John and David Furnish to present highlights from their unparalleled collection: from the playful and surprising, to the contemplative and thoughtful.
“Whether through the elegance of fashion photography, the creativity of musicians and performers, the exploration of desire, or the passage of history as captured by photojournalism, photography reveals something important about the world.
“Fragile Beauty will be a truly epic journey across the recent history of photography, and a celebration of Sir Elton John and David Furnish’s passion for the medium.”
Fragile Beauty: Photographs from the Sir Elton John and David Furnish Collection in partnership with Gucci will run at the V&A from May 18 2024 to January 5 2025.