Howell Conant, Grace Kelly, 1955. Gelatin silver print, sheet: 14 x 11 inches, 35.6 x 28 cm. Stamped. Printed later.

Photographer Howell T. Conant Sr. was best known for his pictures of Princess Grace of Monaco. He was working as a fashion photographer when in 1955 Photoplay magazine commissioned him to do a cover photograph of Grace Kelly, who was soon to win an Oscar for her role in “The Country Girl.” The two got along well and after her engagement to Prince Rainier of Monaco Kelly invited Conant to accompany her on her voyage to the tiny principality on the French Riviera. There were many photographers on the ship but Conant had exclusive access. He photographed the wedding and continued thereafter to photograph the family through the years up to Princess Grace’s death in 1982. Ten years later he would publish “Grace”, a book of his photographs of Grace Kelly the movie star and Princess Grace of Monaco and her family.

Conant’s father had a photography portrait studio in Marinette, Wisconsin, where Conant first learned his trade. He went on to study photography at the University of Wisconsin and the Art Center School in Los Angeles. During World War II, he was Navy photographer serving under Admiral Chester Nimitz. After the war, he relocated to New York City and became a fashion photographer, publishing his work for magazines such as Life, Look, and Paris Match. He photographed many notables and celebrities, including Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and Presidents Kennedy and Nixon. He photographed Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in the film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” creating iconic images of the star and the film.

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