Richard Avedon - Photographs London Friday, September 25, 2020 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Sotheby's, New York, 9 October 2009, lot 213

  • Literature

    K. Fraser, On the Edge: Images from 100 Years of Vogue, New York: Random House, 1992, pp. 232–233
    Richard Avedon: Evidence 1944–1994, New York: Random House, 1994, p. 163 (variant)
    Richard Avedon Photographs: 1944-2004, Humlebæk: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 23 (variant)
    Avedon Women, California: Gagosian Gallery, 2013, pl. 106

  • Catalogue Essay

    'The snake wound up her body very slowly. Nobody was telling it what to do. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. When the snake got to her ear, he kissed her and put out his tongue. Then the shoot was over and I was crying.'

    Polly Mellen, Fashion Editor, American Vogue, 1979-1990

  • 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.

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Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, Los Angeles, California, June 14

Gelatin silver print.
82.2 x 124.9 cm (32 3/8 x 49 1/8 in.)
Signed, numbered 93/200 in pencil, copyright credit reproduction limitation, title, date and edition stamps on the verso.

£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £62,500

Contact Specialist


Rachel Peart
Head of Sale, Specialist

Yuka Yamaji
Head of Photographs, Europe

General Enquiries
+44 20 7318 4092


London Auction 25 September 2020