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Richard Avedon (American, 1923–2004)
LOT ID: 77991
Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France, 1961

Silver Print, Gelatin silver print
14 х 14 in. (35.56 x 35.56 cm.)
Signed, dated, and editioned 5/30 in pencil, and his copyright and title/date stamp on verso
Print/Casting Year 1999
Edition 5/30
Lot description
Printed in 1999.

This important work portrays the famous Russian ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev. Taken in Paris in 1961, the year Nureyev defected to the West, it exposes his lean muscular form whose expressive abilities provided a new role for the male ballet dancer.

Richard Avedon (1923–2004) was the most important fashion photographer and portraitist in America throughout a six-decade career. Serving in the Merchant Marines during World War II, Avedon was assigned to the photography unit and learned his trade making identification portraits. After the war, he found work as a photographer for Harper’s Bazaar and Theater Arts and began a fruitful apprenticeship with legendary editor, designer, and artist Alexey Brodovitch. Rising quickly to prominence, Avedon invigorated the staid fashion photography of the time, staging fictional tableaux and developing an unprecedented theatrical style. Moving to Vogue in 1966 and The New Yorker in 1992, Avedon continued to innovate in fashion, portraiture, and advertising reportage as well as in print and television advertising.

From his first book (Observations, 1959) and his first one-man exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution in 1962, Avedon was also recognized for his artistry. Extraordinarily prolific throughout his career, he produced many books, including Nothing Personal (1964), Portraits (1976), An Autobiography (1993), The Sixties (1999), Woman in the Mirror (2005), and Performance (2008). His exhibitions include Portraits, 1969–1975 at New York’s Marlborough Gallery in 1975; Avedon: Photographs 1947–1977 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1978; In the American West at the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas in 1985; Evidence: 1944–1994 at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1994; and Richard Avedon: Portraits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002.[]
Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France by Richard Avedon
  • Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France by Richard Avedon
  • Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France by Richard Avedon
  • Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France by Richard Avedon
  • Rudolf Nureyev, Paris, France by Richard Avedon
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