Helmut Newton

Marlborough Gallery | New York

In Emile Zola’s Nana, the critic Fauchery pens a vitriolic article for Le Figaro in which he likens the fabulous whore of a heroine to a golden fly: “And it was at the end of this article that the comparison with a fly occurred, a fly of sunny hue, which had flown up out of the dung, a fly which sucks in death on the carrion tolerated by the roadside, and then buzzing, dancing, and glittering like a precious stone, enters the windows of palaces and poisons the men within by merely settling on them in her flight.” Count Muffat, Nana’s guilt-ridden protector, reads Fauchery’s piece while covertly watching his mistress luxuriating before her mirror. “Slowly, slowly she spread out her arms to give full value to her figure . . . She bent herself this way and that, and examined herself before and behind, stooping to look at the sideview of her bosom and at the sweeping contours of her thighs.”

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