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

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  • This double portrait of dancer and ballet impresario Raymundo de Larrain and viscountess and socialite Jacqueline de Ribes was taken in Richard Avedon’s New York studio when they were in town for the Embassy Ball. Born in Chile, Larrain was ambitious professionally and socially, and his career and life were both punctuated with brilliant successes and the occasional scandal.  Jacqueline de Ribes saw in Larrain a great talent and underwrote his ballet company until his lavish expenses became untenable. In Avedon’s photograph, the couple possesses a palpable old-world elegance and poise, and their closed eyes suggest a collective vision.  


    In 1961, shortly after this photograph was taken, Larrain arranged for the Kirov Ballet to perform for two weeks in Paris, inviting Avedon – a world-class fan of ballet – to one of the performances. After the Paris engagement, Kirov star dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected, refusing to return to Moscow. Initially, he was sequestered in Larrain’s apartment, and later performed with his company.  It was Larrain who invited Avedon to photograph the ballet star, resulting in one of the most significant sessions in Avedon’s career up to that time.   


    A print of the image offered here was exhibited in the recent retrospective, Avedon 100.   

    • Provenance

      Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, 2008

    • Literature

      Avedon and Baldwin, Nothing Personal, n.p.
      The Metropolitan Musuem of Art, Avedon: Photographs, 1947-1977, pl. 68
      Avedon, An Autobiography, pl. 154
      Whitney Museum of American Art, Richard Avedon: Evidence, 1944-1994, p. 142

    • 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


The Vicomtesse Jacqueline de Ribes and Raymundo de Larrain, New York, New York, 5/16/61

Gelatin silver print, printed 1962.
6 x 6 in. (15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, numbered 10/13 in pencil, copyright credit reproduction limitation and printing stamps on the verso.

Full Cataloguing

$25,000 - 35,000 

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023