Richard Avedon - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “Bob Dylan, the teenager's troubadour came out of the West to wander restlessly through the country, playing and singing his own folk tunes, like ‘Blowin' in the Wind.' More of a words man than a musician, he sets his verbal flashes of insight to simple melodies that hush his audience. Now, five years later, his restless wanderings include brief but profitable stops at Columbia's recording studio which is releasing his latest L.P., Bringing It All Back Home
    Vogue, April 1965


    Richard Avedon’s portrait of Bob Dylan was first published in the April 1965 issue of Vogue, for which the photographer served as guest editor. Under Avedon’s editorship, the issue included his portraits of other iconoclasts such as Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr, all showcasing Avedon’s distinct talent for identifying individuals at the vanguard of cultural change. 


    The February 1965 session with Dylan on Fifth Avenue was not the first time Avedon had photographed the musician, having worked with him in 1963. In that earlier portrait Dylan poses in faded jeans and plaid shirt, his battered guitar case at his feet, on the city’s industrial waterfront – he is the very picture of the earnest young folksinger making the rounds of the Greenwich Village night spots. In contrast, Avedon’s 1965 portrait shows a very different side of Dylan, who had forgone the trappings of the folk scene in favor of a more sophisticated and urbane look, perfectly at home in the heart of the Upper East Side. 


    Avedon’s different approaches to photographing the same subject in 1963 and 1965 mirrors Dylan’s musical development during this period. By 1965, he had progressed past the archetype of the guitar-strumming folk troubadour to arrive at a lyrical style that was intensely poetic, and a musical approach that was decidedly heavy. In Avedon’s 1965 handling, the chameleonic Dylan is an urban sophisticate, one who would soon release the epochal album Bringing it All Back Home, featuring a full backing band and the hit single Suburban Homesick Blues. 


    • Provenance

      Private Collection, San Francisco

    • Literature

      Avedon, An Autobiography, pl. 137
      Avedon, Performance, p. 106
      Whitney Museum of American Art, Richard Avedon: Evidence, 1944-1994, p. 148
      Avedon and Doon Arbus, The Sixties, p. 19
      Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Richard Avedon – Photographs 1946-2004, p. 89
      Steidl, Portraits of Power, p. 31

    • Artist Biography

      Richard Avedon

      American • 1923 - 2004

      From the inception of Richard Avedon's career, first at Harper's Bazaar and later at Vogue, Avedon challenged the norms for editorial photography. His fashion work gained recognition for its seemingly effortless and bursting energy, while his portraits were celebrated for their succinct eloquence. "I am always stimulated by people," Avedon has said, "almost never by ideas." 

      Indeed, as seen in his portraits — whether of famed movie stars or everyday people — the challenge for Avedon was conveying the essence of his subjects. His iconic images were usually taken on an 8 x 10 inch camera in his studio with a plain white background and strobe lighting, creating his signature minimalist style. Avedon viewed the making and production of photographs as a performance similar to literature and drama, creating portraits that are simultaneously intensely clear, yet deeply mysterious.

      View More Works


Bob Dylan, Singer, New York, New York, 2.10.65

Gelatin silver print.
10 x 8 in. (25.4 x 20.3 cm)
Signed, numbered 19/25 in pencil, title, date, and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $35,560

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023