The Israel Museum announced Sunday the gift of a cohesive body of portraiture by
Richard Avedon – totaling 74 photographs created between 1969 and 1976 – through
the collaboration of three donors.
The unprecedented gift was initiated
by Leonard Lauder, who upon learning that Avedon’s work was not represented in
the Israel Museum’s collection, invited the Richard Avedon Foundation and Larry
Gagosian – whose gallery represents the foundation – to join him in ensuring
that the photographer’s work would be properly reflected within the Museum’s
This joint gift will be on display at the Israel
Museum in spring 2014 as part of its Focus on the Collection exhibition series
and builds on the Museum’s 50-year history of collecting photography, further
distinguishing it as one of the world’s leading holdings with more than 75,000
Avedon began his career in the mid-1940s as a genre-bending
fashion photographer, who introduced narrative elements into traditional fashion
spreads. In 1969, Avedon adopted what would become his signature portrait style
– subjects posed singly and in groups against stark white backgrounds that
allowed individuals’ distinct personalities to emerge.
The works gifted
to the Israel Museum capture this moment of transition in Avedon’s career and
demonstrate his central role as an artist who chronicled an era of conflicting
ideas, radical politics and shifting social mores.