Photographer Profile ~ Richard Avedon

Born in New York in 1923, Richard Avedon dropped out of high school and joined the Merchant Marine's photographic section. Upon his return in 1944, he found a job as a photographer in a department store. Within two years he had been "found" by an art director at HARPER'S BAZAAR and was producing work for them as well as VOGUE, LOOK, and a number of other magazines. During the early years, Avedon made his living primarily through work in advertising. His real passion, however, was the portrait and its ability to express the essence of its subject.

Although Richard Avedon first earned his reputation as a fashion photographer, his greatest achievement has been his stunning reinvention of the genre of photographic portraiture. Featuring approximately 180 works, this exhibition will span the artist's entire career, from his earliest portraits in the late 1940s through his most recent work. At the core of the installation will be a powerful group of portraits of many of the key artistic, intellectual, and political figures from the late 1950s through the early 1970s, including several large murals, perhaps the grandest photographic portraits ever staged. Also featured will be boldly scaled photographs from the ambitious series "In the American West" and a poignant sequence of portraits of the artist's father taken shortly before his death. Avedon's portraits of artists and intellectuals of the last 20 years, including John Cheever, Roy Lichtenstein, and Harold Bloom, complete this artist's collection of individuals who have shaped our world.

'If a day goes by without my doing something related to
photography, it’s as though I’ve neglected something
essential to my existence, as though I had forgotten to
wake up" Richard Avedon, 1970

Fred Astaire with Avedon

"I've photographed just about everyone in the world," Mr. Avedon said. "But what I hope to do is photograph people of accomplishment, not celebrity, and help define the difference once again."

Malcom X

The above picture,”Dovima with the Elephants” was taken by Avedon at the Cirque d’hiver, Paris, in August 1955. The dress was the first evening dress designed for Christian Dior by his new assistant, Yves Saint-Laurent.
Groucho Marx
Writer Truman Capote

Avedon's father
Avedon's father

 Richard Avedon, 1950s

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