Largest Avedon photograph auction set for Paris

Mon Oct 4, 2010 4:42pm EDT
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By Lynn Adler

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than 60 photographs by Richard Avedon, some rare and unpublished, will be auctioned next month by Christie's in Paris to create the Richard Avedon Foundation endowment fund.

The November 20 sale, the largest auction ever of Avedon's work, is expected to fetch up to $6 million or more for the fund designed to help teach a generation flooded with technology to harness the power of photography.

"We want to help organizations that use photography to tell the truth about things," said Paul Roth, executive director of the Richard Avedon Foundation in New York.

"We want to help young people learn how to use cameras and therefore have the power of controlling visual information in their own lives."

The sale is also expected to confirm the resurrection of the photography market, which swooned with the economy before finding its footing. Avedon's early images, made over a half century ago, aimed for similar results in his beloved Paris.

"Avedon as much as anyone is really responsible for recreating the image of a vibrant Paris after World War Two when the economy was really in its doldrums and there was widespread poverty," Roth explained.

One of Avedon's iconic fashion photographs of that era, "Dovima with elephants, evening dress by Dior, Cirque d'Hiver, Paris, August 1955," is estimated to sell for $500,000 to $700,000. It is the largest Avedon exhibition print in existence, and hung in Avedon's New York office for a quarter century.

Avedon's celebrity photographs for sale include a vintage print of Marilyn Monroe, with an estimated price of $100,000 to $150,000 and another of Malcolm X which could sell for between $60,000 and $90,000.   Continued...

<p>Brigitte Bardot photographed in Paris, January 27, 1959. REUTERS/Christies/Richard Avedon</p>