Richard Avedon

Richard Avedon, Richard Avedon, self-portrait, Photographer, Provo, Utah, August 20, 1980 (ITAW), 1980, 50 1/8 × 39 1/4 inches  (127.3 × 99.7 cm), edition of 6 © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Richard Avedon Listed Exhibitions (49 Kb)
Richard Avedon Bibliography (Selected) (57 Kb)

By capturing American ideals of celebrity, fashion, and beauty in the 20th and early 21st centuries, Richard Avedon helped to establish photography as a contemporary art form. Avedon’s distinct style of portrait photography is nothing short of iconic. While the portraiture of his contemporaries focused on single moments or composed formal images, his stark lighting and minimalist white backdrops drew the viewer to the intimate, emotive power of the subject’s expression. Between 1945 and 1965, he worked as a fashion photographer, revolutionizing the craft even as he honed his aesthetic. His work appeared in magazines from Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue to Life and Look. Later, he moved into journalism and the art world. Avedon’s subjects included pop icons, models, musicians, writers, artists, workers, political activists, soldiers, Vietnam War victims, politicians, and his family.

Richard Avedon (b. 1923, New York; d. 2004, San Antonio, Texas) studied philosophy at Columbia University, New York, and served in the photography department of the U.S. Merchant Marines before studying photography with Alexey Brodovitch at the New School for Social Research, New York. He began work as a fashion photographer for Harper's Bazaar in 1945, eventually joining rival Vogue magazine, where he would remain on staff until 1988. In 1992 he was named the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. He received a Master of Photography Award from the International Center of Photography and his work is included in the collections of MoMA, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with countless other museums and institutions worldwide. Avedon’s solo exhibition, “Portraits: 1969–1975” was on view at the Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, and Larry Gagosian’s Broxton Gallery, in Westwood, California, in 1976. He is the only photographer to have had two major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1978 and 2002. A 2007 retrospective exhibition organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark traveled to Milan, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam and San Francisco. Richard Avedon established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Based in New York, the Foundation is the repository for Avedon's photographs, negatives, publications, papers, and archival materials.