I function more as an editor. In other words, I could draw people out, maybe in the way a director does with a performer. And bring them into the circle of creative work. - Richard Avedon
Gagosian Athens is pleased to present photographs by Richard Avedon, following the career-spanning exhibition "Avedon: Women" at Gagosian Beverly Hills in late 2013.
Avedon's reportage, portraiture, and fashion work dissolved the lines between photographic genres and covered a breadth of subjects, from figures both famous and anonymous to historic moments of the American Civil Rights Movement and the fall of the Berlin Wall. From the beginning of his career as a fashion photographer in the 1940s, he was particularly renowned for his distinctive and transformative imagery of women.
Avedon's images are imbued with unconventional allure and formidable intelligence. An iconic photograph from 1948 focuses on a fur-trimmed shoe by Perugia, worn by a model walking among others in a busy street, the Eiffel Tower looming in the distant background. In 1955, Dovima, wearing an elegant white hat by Balenciaga, peers through a car window. In an image from Avedon's late career, the statuesque Malgosia Bela and Gisele Bündchen brace themselves, perhaps against unseen danger, in edgy Dior couture.
In portraits of cultural figures taken throughout his career, Avedon captured the creative spirit of successive decades. Among a series of images of legendary artists is a photograph of Henry Moore's hand, indicating the most essential part of the sculptor's being. In a portrait of Francis Bacon from 1979, two combined images echo the artist's own afflictive depictions of fragmented, amorphous figures. This spirited and innovative approach is a testament to Avedon's incisive engagement with both the visceral and biographical aspects of his subjects.
Richard Avedon (1923-2004) is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. Born in New York City, Avedon began his professional photographic career in 1942 in the U.S. Merchant Marine Photographic Department and attended the Design Laboratory at the New School. He began work as a photographer for Harper's Bazaar in 1945, eventually joining rival Vogue magazine, where he would remain on staff until 1988. In 1992 he was named the first staff photographer for The New Yorker. He received a Master of Photography Award from the International Center of Photography and his work is included in the collections of MoMA, the Smithsonian, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, along with countless other museums and institutions worldwide. He is the only photographer to have had two major exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in 1978 and 2002. A 2007 retrospective exhibition organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark traveled to Milan, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and San Francisco. Richard Avedon established The Richard Avedon Foundation during his lifetime. Based in New York, the Foundation is the repository for Avedon's photographs, negatives, publications, papers, and archival materials.