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The Family, 1955 – Richard Avedon
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Om föremålet

Richard Avedon\nThe Family\nNew York: Rolling Stone, 1976. Sixty-nine gelatin silver prints.\nEach 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm)\nEach print signed in stylus on the recto; each signed, numbered 21/25 in pencil, title, edition, copyright credit reproduction limitation and Rolling Stone Bicentennial stamps on the verso. Signed and numbered 21/25 in ink on the cardboard portfolio box. Accompanied by a signed issue of Rolling Stone magazine.
US
NY, US
US

year

1955

notes

As an indomitable force in American Photography, Richard Avedon meticulously cultivated a distinct style that seamlessly fused the charmingly natural with the elegantly composed. Throughout a spectacular career that spanned for over half a century, Avedon boldly veered from the status quo—be it freezing the effervescent sparkle in his fashion models’ movement to quietly extracting the essence of his sitters in his studio portraits—patiently building a legacy marked by some of the most defining images of the twentieth-century. It is befitting, therefore, that his subjects were often of great stature themselves, from reigning models to European aristocracy, and as seen in the current lot, American power players.The Family was originally commissioned by Rolling Stone in 1976 on the occasion of America’s Bicentennial celebration and in advance of the presidential election. Comprised of sixty-nine prints depicting a diverse cross-sectional overview of the American political milieu, The Family cleverly hints at the interconnected nature of the seemingly disparate professions represented—from President Gerald Ford to the founder of the United Farm Workers Union, Cesar Chavez. Indeed, it is noteworthy that not all of Avedon’s sitters were publically elected officials. In fact, among the sitters were bankers, media trendsetters, corporate executives, publishers, union leaders, and others, alluding to the confluence of forces that contribute to the shaping of the highest office on U.S. soil.In keeping with his mantra that “All photographs are accurate, none of them is the truth,” Avedon was not concerned with capturing the likeness of his sitters but their spirit. “A portrait is not a likeness,” Avedon stated. “The moment an emotion or fact is transformed into a photograph it is no longer a fact but an opinion.” All subjects were photographed against a stark, white background that stripped them of their expected context and associated insignia (oak desks, brass name plaques, paintings of past presidents, to name but a few.) “In a way,” Avedon later commented, “these pictures were almost taken by the people in the pictures. I didn't tell them what to wear. I didn't tell them how to pose. However they presented themselves, I recorded with very little manipulation.” By doing so, nuances in facial expression, posture and dress prominently rise to viewers’ awareness, gently hinting at the sitters’ underlying personalities and idiosyncrasies. Indeed, across the dozens of portraits, viewers are met with a myriad of expressions, from furrowed looks of consternation to gentle grins and broad smiles; an array of poses that range from stiff and self-contained to fluid and insouciant; and a diverse manner in dress, from jeweled haute couture to a soft-collared farmer’s shirt. The longer viewers spend studying the portraits, the more the sitters’ public personas morph into intimate characters, revealing Avedon’s gift in gradually and cleverly peeling the public shell of his sitters.In the nearly four decades that have lapsed since The Family was originally created, many of the sitters’ careers would greatly shift. None more so, perhaps, than Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and George Bush, all three of whom would go on to win the American presidency. As a compilation, like a personal family album, Avedon’s iconic The Family stands at the intersection of past and future, commemorating the moments that had come to define an era, and nodding at the many more that were to come.

title

The Family

medium

New York: Rolling Stone, 1976. Sixty-nine gelatin silver prints.

signed

Each print signed in stylus on the recto; each signed, numbered 21/25 in pencil, title, edition, copyright credit reproduction limitation and Rolling Stone Bicentennial stamps on the verso. Signed and numbered 21/25 in ink on the cardboard portfolio box. Accompanied by a signed issue of Rolling Stone magazine.

creator

Richard Avedon

condition

Sixty-nine neutral toned prints on semi-gloss double weight paper with margins. Overall, no surface aberrations visible, except where noted below. Most with minimally bumped corners, all in the margins, not affecting the image and visible only under close inspection. W. Mark Felt: Light crimp in the left margin; light, minor edge chipping, all in the margins, not affecting the image and visible only under very close inspection. Jules Stein: Light, minor handling mark in the top margin, all in the margins, not affecting the image and visible only under raking light. Light, minor wear to the interior paper lining of the cardboard portfolio box. Sixty prints and the signed issue of Rolling Stone magazine are enclosed in the cardboard portfolio box. Nine works are framed.

dimensions

Each 9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in. (24.4 x 19.4 cm)

literature

"The Family", Rolling Stone, October 21, 1976Gagosian Gallery, Avedon: Murals and Portraits, pp. 172-173Random House, Richard Avedon: Evidence, 1944-1994, pp. 159-160Random House, Avedon: The Sixties, pp. 56, 65, 88, 121 and 204for various prints illustrated

provenance

Christie's Paris, 'Photographs from the Richard Avedon Foundation' 20 November 2010, lot 57Private Collection, Switzerland


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*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.


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