b. 1923
- d. 2004
  • United States
Turnover 2023
$USD 1.704.700
Record Sale
$USD 1.815.000

Richard Avedon’s early passion for photography led him to a career that would redefine the medium and its boundaries. Beginning his professional journey as a photographer for the Merchant Marines during World War II, Avedon’s innate ability to capture the essence of his subjects soon caught the attention of prominent fashion publications. His work with Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue transformed fashion photography from mere catalogue-style imagery to dynamic, narrative-driven visual storytelling. Avedon’s signature style was characterized by his remarkable knack for engaging with his subjects on a deeply personal level, enabling him to reveal their true personalities and emotions. His portraits were not just snapshots but profound insights into the human condition. His unrelenting pursuit of capturing authenticity often led him to create portraits against plain white backdrops, stripping away distractions to focus solely on the individual’s essence.

This minimalist approach allowed him to expose vulnerabilities, strengths, and idiosyncrasies with unparalleled intensity. Beyond the realm of fashion, Avedon ventured into the world of fine art photography, where his evocative series like “In the American West” showcased his ability to highlight the humanity and character of his subjects, often overlooked by mainstream society. He explored the dichotomies of beauty and imperfection, celebrity and anonymity, and privilege and poverty. His works, be they fashion spreads or fine art exhibits, invited viewers to contemplate the complex interplay between appearance and identity, posing profound questions about self-perception and societal expectations.

Avedon’s impact on photography reverberated through generations of artists and photographers, reshaping the way portraits were conceived and executed. His collaborations with cultural icons, artists, musicians, and political figures added a new dimension to their public personas, reflecting their multifaceted lives rather than just their surface glamour. His lens captured the likes of Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, and Martin Luther King Jr. in moments that transcended time, becoming icons themselves. With an illustrious career spanning more than six decades, Avedon received numerous accolades, including the National Medal of Arts, recognizing his unparalleled contribution to American photography and culture. His work continues to inspire photographers and artists across the globe, urging them to delve beneath the exterior and capture the depth of the human experience. Richard Avedon’s legacy endures, not only through his iconic photographs but through the profound impact he had on shaping the very essence of visual storytelling.


Record Sale

Richard AVEDON (1923-2004)
Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris (1955)

Gelatin silver print/linen, mounted/aluminum. Ed. 1979
Ed. 9 / 10
203.2 x 161.2 cm

United States
One: A Global Sale of the 20th Century
10 jul 2020
Online only


Lot # 81
Hammer price: $ 1,500,000
Price including buyer’s premium: $ 1,815,000
Estimate: $ 800,000 – $ 1,200,000

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