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  • Provenance

    IVAM Centre Julio González, Valencia; Fundación Centro Ordóñez-Falcón de Fotografía-COFF, San Sebastián

  • Literature

    Simon and Schuster, R. Avedon and T. Capote, Observations, 1959, p. 27; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, R. Avedon, Avedon Photographs 1947-1977, 1978, cover and p. 161

  • Catalogue Essay


    Marella Agnelli is the half American, half Neapolitan born princess who has long reigned as one of the charter members of what famed fashion editor Diana Vreeland called ‘the Beautiful People.’ Richard Avedon’s stellar portrait of this aristocratic wife of late Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli was taken at the photographer’s New York studio in 1953.
    It first appeared in the April 1954 issue of Harper’s Bazaar in a story entitled Beauties of Our Time. The then young Avedon, who worked closely with the Bazaar’s influential art director Alexei Brodovitch, allowed his image to be flopped for publication with the portrait reproduced, full-bleed covering the left hand page and the text at right mirroring the sinuous curves of Agnelli’s head and body which Avedon had elongated by hand in the dark room. Agnelli was one of writer Truman Capote’s famous ‘swans’ – well married international best dressed ladies whom also included Mrs. William S. (Babe) Paley and Mrs. Winston (CZ) Guest. Capote once commented that if Agnelli and Paley ‘were both in a Tiffany's window, Marella would be more expensive.’

  • 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

34

Marella Agnelli, New York Studio, December

1953
Gelatin silver print, printed 1981.
59.4 x 47.3 cm. (23 3/8 x 18 5/8 in).
Signed, dated, numbered 18/50 in ink; title and date stamp, and copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp on the verso.

Estimate
£30,000 - 40,000 

Sold for £43,250

Photographs

22 Nov 2008, 3pm
London