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 encyclopedic holdings.

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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 images.

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.
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