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Richard Avedon's revealing portraits unveiled at Art Gallery of Western Australia
Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, August 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation.


PERTH.- Richard Avedon People celebrates the work of American photographer Richard Avedon (1923 to 2004). Presenting 80 photographs from 1949 to 2002, the exhibition offers an in-depth overview of Avedon’s achievements in the art of black and white portraiture.

Known for his exquisitely simple compositions, Avedon’s images express the essence of his subjects in charming and disarming ways. His work is also a catalogue of the who’s who of twentieth-century American culture. In the show, instantly recognisable and influential artists, celebrities, and counterculture leaders including Bob Dylan, Truman Capote, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, and Malcolm X, are presented alongside portraits of the unknown. Always accessible, they convey his profound concern with the emotional and social freedom of the individual.

AGWA Director, Stefano Carboni said, “Richard Avedon was one of the world’s great photographers. He is known for transforming fashion photography from the late 1940s onwards, and his revealing portraits of celebrities, artists and political identities.”

“People may be less familiar, however, with his portraiture works that capture ordinary New Yorkers, and the people of America’s West, going about their daily lives,” Stefano continued. “This exhibition brings these lesser-known yet compelling portraits together with his often controversial, always captivating, iconic shots. In doing so, this exhibition provides a rounded and truly inspiring insight into Avedon’s incredible practice.”

Avedon changed the face of fashion photography through his exploration of motion and emotion. From the outset, he was fascinated by photography’s capacity for suggesting the personality and evoking the life of his subjects.

This is evidenced across the works in the exhibition, which span Avedon’s career from his influential fashion photography and minimalist portraitures of well-known identities, to his depictions of America’s working class.

Avedon’s practice entered the public imagination through his long association with seminal American publications. He commenced his career photographing for Harper’s Bazaar , followed by a 20-year partnership with Vogue . Later, he established strong collaborations with Egoiste and The New Yorker , becoming staff photographer for The New Yorker in 1992.

Richard Avedon People is the first solo exhibition of Avedon's work to be displayed in Western Australia. Perth is the second city to host this exhibition following on from its Southern Hemisphere launch at the National Portrait Gallery in August 2013. The exhibition was curated by the National Portrait Gallery’s Senior Curator, Dr Christopher Chapman, in partnership with the Richard Avedon Foundation over the course of two years.

The Foundation was established by Avedon in his lifetime and encourages the study and appreciation of Avedon’s photography through exhibitions, publications and outreach programs.





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