||Richard Avedon's private
collection of photographs
Why do we choose certain images
to live with, study, reflect on, and appreciate? What inspires the masters,
or tickles their fancies?
When Richard Avedon died on October 1st, 2004, he left an extraordinary
collection of photographs that spans two centuries and reflects an eye
attuned equally to masterworks and mug shots. Few had seen the private
collection with which he surrounded himself in his apartment on East 75th
Street. These photographs, assembled over five decades, are the subject
of the exhibition "Eye of the Beholder: Photographs from the Collection
of Richard Avedon", at Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St., San Francisco,
from 5 October to 25 November 2006.
Avedon knew a good photograph when he saw one. Though he was far more
interested in making pictures than collecting them, he lived surrounded
by photographs of every kind, from the exalted to the unknown. “Neurotic
women” (his words) were among his particular interests, though his
curiosity was vigorous and his pursuits could not be predicted. The photographs
in Avedon’s collection were acquired primarily by purchase, in some
cases by gift. Several bear inscriptions of respect or affection from
other artists, notably Jacques-Henri Lartigue and Henri Cartier-Bresson,
photographers with whom he forged significant friendships.
Avedon was the first of only three people to purchase Diane Arbus’s
landmark portfolio A Box of Ten Photographs, a gesture that signaled so
much to the artist that she re-titled his portfolio to include an eleventh
Organized with Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Eye of the Beholder is
presented in cooperation with The Richard Avedon Foundation, New York,
and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog.