Simone de Beauvoir

Transatlantic Love Affair

Simone de Beauvoir
Simone de Beauvoir, captured without her consent | Art Shay | Chicago, 1950

Novelist Nelson Algren was Simone de Beauvoir’s lover when they were both around forty. When Beauvoir visited him in Chicago, Algren asked his friend, photographer Art Shay, to find a bathtub for Madame as he was living in a bathless ten-buck-a-month apartment and used a public bath that was not yet up to letting women inside.

“I knew a nice young advertising lady in the area, and she left her key outside for me and I drove Simone down to the apartment. She got in the bathroom and left the door open. …As a young photographer, I had always my trusty wartime Leica Model F with me. This day was no exception. …So I was there, intern photographer for Life Magazine (originally hired to carry the bags and write captions), when I saw Beauvoir emerged from the bath and doing her hair before the mirror. I took two or three quick shots and she heard the click. ’You’re a naughty boy,’ she said, but without closing the door.” – Art Shay

Sixtythree years later photographer Sandro Miller decided to do a project honoring the masters whose photographs helped shape his career. After selecting thirty-five images to recreate, Miller contacted John Malkovich, who instantly agreed to participate. Below is one of the images they created with Malkovich donning a pair of heels to get in character for his portrayal of Simone de Beauvoir as an homage to Art Shay’s 1950 original candid.

Sandro Miller
Homage to Masters | Sandro Miller with John Malkovich | 2014

The whole set, among them recreations of images by Andy Warhol, Annie Leibovitz, Bert Stern, or David Baily could be seen here.