Important Women Artists
10 November 2021


born 1963

Chromogenic print mounted on Diasec

152.0 x 112.0 cm

edition: 1/3

signed, dated, inscribed and numbered verso: 2002 Inflatables, Wonderbread, LA, 1/3

Private sale

De Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong
Private Collection, Hong Kong
Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 10 June 2014, lot 234
Shannon Bennett, Melbourne


David LaChapelle, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taipei, 9 April – 30 May 2010 (another example)
David LaChapelle: Lost + Found, Casa Dei Tre Oci, Venice, 11 April — 10 September 2017 (another example)


Shih, J.J., David LaChapelle, Museum of Contemporary Art Taipei, Taipei, 2010 (illus. cover, another example)

Catalogue text

David LaChapelle is a cult American fashion and portrait photographer, whose outrageously theatrical tableaux are distinctive and unique in the broader context of the contemporary art world. LaChapelle’s polished scenes, often crafted with A-List celebrity popstars, models and sportspeople, have been omnipresent in printed media, video clips on MTV and sidewalk billboards over the last thirty years. With a surrealist flair and luxury kitsch aesthetic, his fanciful tableaux vivants have to be seen to be believed. Wonderbread is an image originally commissioned by Stern Fotografie1, featuring a glamourously dressed young woman joyfully leaping over an upturned shopping trolley in a suburban back alley, while an inflated mascot of American brand Wonder Bread looms behind her. The rictus of the mascot, coupled with the brightly coloured cornucopia of packaged foods spilling from the shopping trolley warns obliquely of the insidious effects of the culture of excess.

“Freddy the Fresh Guy” has been Wonder Bread’s mascot since the 1970s, an anthropomorphized bread packet emblazoned with the logo’s iconic red, yellow and blue balloons, created to convince the public of the packaged and pre-sliced bread’s oven-freshness. Part of a photographic series executed between 2001 – 2002, called Inflatables, LaChapelle’s Wonderbread features a custom-made inflatable of Freddy, while other images in the series have an inflatable Coca-Cola can, hamburger, or hot-dog. With a slick, pop-culture aesthetic directly inherited from contemporary artists Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein and more recently, Jeff Koons, LaChapelle’s artwork was initially applied to the lucrative service of commercial art and design, before being accepted into the realm of Contemporary Art. Using the narrative power of the medium of photography, especially in an era of increasingly sophisticated digital manipulation, LaChapelle’s scenes are undoubtedly a product of the millennial era, featuring the fashions, celebrities, brands and computer-generated aesthetics of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

LaChapelle has held solo exhibitions several major art museums and galleries around the world, including the Barbican in London in 2002, the Palazzo Reale, Milan, in 2007, Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, in 2010, Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2012 and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris in 2014.

1. Stern Fotografie was a special interest photography magazine published in Hamburg, which ran from 1996 – 2014, featuring unique works by one famous photographer for every issue