Edward Quinn, Photographer

The Edward Quinn Archive

The film about Quinn: Riviera Cocktail

The documentary RIVIERA COCKTAIL encompasses an entire age, tracing the path followed by Edward Quinn from his early pin-up photography to his unconventional portrayal of all the great stars and, finally to his relationships as a photographer with Pablo Picasso and Georg Baselitz.

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A Film by Heinz Bütler
© NZZ Film 2006
96 minutes, High Definition, Dolby Digital 5.1
Production company:
NZZ Film, P.O. Box, 8021 Zürich, tvnzz@nzz.ch
+41 (44) 258 14 88

In the 1950s, the Côte d’Azur was host to a social and cultural spectacle of unparalleled grandezza. Film stars, ex-Kings and minor royalty, starlets, painters, gamblers, shipping tycoons, directors, politicians, pin-up girls, producers, writers, prima donnas, stars of the French chanson, and opera divas transformed the postwar French Riviera into a sparkling “cocktail”, which can still be enjoyed today thanks to the legacy of photographer Edward Quinn (1920-1997).
With the perfect blend of persistence and discretion, Quinn spent over a decade exploring the social jungle on the Côte d’Azur and unearthing incomparable gems in this epicentre of high life, big business, art, music and literature. His all-embracing, exciting and stirring record of life on the Riviera includes 140,000 negatives, thousands of contact sheets and as many prints in all formats.
Edward Quinn - Riviera Cocktail exploits the entire spectrum of the photographer’s Côte d’Azur chronicles, the rich holdings of the Edward Quinn Archive, and the equally rich experience, knowledge, passion and humour of “Ted’s” widow Gret Quinn. The result is a filmed history of society, photography and art spanning an entire era and including protagonists like Brigitte Bardot, Marlon Brando, Maurice Chevalier, Jean Cocteau, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Sophia Loren, Kim Novak, Frank Sinatra and, especially, Pablo Picasso. Over a period of 20 years, Edward Quinn recorded every conceivable facet of Picasso’s life and art.
From the start, Gret Quinn was her husband’s indispensable partner, not only processing the images but also managing the archive, which includes “stars” from Aimée, Anouk to Zanuck, Darryl, representatives of “culture” from Aragon, Louis to Warhol, Andy, and “celebrities” from Adenauer, Konrad to Zita, ex-Empress of Austria. The film begins its journey through the 1950s with the Edward Quinn Archive and its multi-faceted holdings that testify to the visual and emotional potential of Quinn’s photographs. Film footage about and with Edward Quinn is excerpted from a television documentary by the filmmaker, made three years before the photographer’s death. The footage eloquently demonstrates the skill, tact and diplomacy that led to Quinn’s unrivalled status on the Riviera.
RIVIERA COCKTAIL is a journey through time with Edward and Gret Quinn; it is also, in a sense, a music film that even integrates footage of Franco Ambrosetti and the group ”European Legacy” improvising the film score while watching Quinn’s work on screen; their sound is as contemporary as it is nostalgic, capturing the era now known as the “Golden Fifties”.

Header photo: Edward Quinn, Zurich 1983. © Eric Bachmann