born 15 May 1923 in New York City  –  died 1 October 2004

Avedon was born in New York City as the child of Russian-jewish immigrants. He died 2004 in Texas at the age of 81.

His portrait photographs are famous for revealing the strengths and weaknesses of the portayed persons in a up-to there unknown clarity. The peak of this was a series (last 7 pictures in his book portraits) in which he shocked the public by showing them the slow dying process of his father over a period of months. Here he shows almost brutally the decay of this revered and loved personality in a detailed and analyzing way.

Even though some of his images, like those of migrant workers of the American west were received by the public as destructive and unamerican, many personalities from politics and culture were insisting to be photographed by him. Thus many images were created, which today form the collective society conciousness and history, e.g. from Ezra Pound, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin Brigitte Bardot, The Beatles, Igor Stravinsky, John Ford or Henry Kissinger. From the latter it is reported that he asked Avedon before the shooting “please be merciful with me!”

2003  Americans for the Arts, National Arts Award: Lifetime Achievement Arts & Business Council, Award for Outstanding     Achievement in the Visual Arts Royal Photographic Society, 150th Anniversary Medal

2000 Photo District News: Most Influential Photographer of the Last Twenty Years

1998  Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts, Alliance for Young Artists & Writers

1996   Humanitarian Award, Mental Health Association of New York City

1994   Honorary Doctorate, Parsons School of Design, New York “EVIDENCE” is awarded Prix Nadar by the Bibliotheque Nationale for “Best Photographic Book”

1993   Honorary Doctorate, Kenyon College, Ohio “Master of Photography Award,” International Center of Photography

1989   Honorary Doctorate, Royal College of Art, London, UK

1986 – 1987      Certificate of Recognition, Visiting Artist, Harvard University

1985  “Photographer of the Year,” American Society of Magazine Photographers
1942 – 1944       Served in the U.S. Merchant Marines

Exhibitions

2007 “Americans: Meisterwerke amerikanischer Fotografie von 1940 bis heute” Kunsthalle Wien (Halle 1, Halle 2), Vienna “The Heartbeat of Fashion: Sammlung F. C. Gundlach,” Deichtorhallen, Hamburg

2006 “Eye of the Beholder,” Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA  “Brighton Photo Biennial,” Brighton, UK  “In the American West: Photographs by Richard Avedon”,  Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH “American Icons,” Corkin Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Ontario

“Rostros y Máscaras,” Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca

2005 “Keeping Shadows: Photography from the Worcester Art Museum”, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ “Hablando con las manos: Fotografías de la Colección Buhl,” Museo Guggenheim de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo, Bilbao “From the Source: Fashion Photographs,” Corkin Shopland Gallery, Toronto, Ontario “Summer of Love Art of the Psychedelic Era,” Tate Liverpool, Liverpool, UK “FABULOUS PHOTOGRAPHIC EPHEMERA,” The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN “Richard Avedon,” Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY

2004 “About Face: Photographic Portraits from the Collection,” The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL “Photography from the Book to the Museum,” Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya, Barcelona “Das Wunder Mensch/Parameter of Life,” Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Wörlen, Passau

2003 “A Clear Vision: Photographic Works from the F.C. Gundlach Collection,” Deichtorhallen, Hamburg “VANITY FAIR,” Torch Gallery, Amsterdam “Flesh Tones: 100 Years of the Nude,” Robert Mann Gallery, New York, NY “Richard Avedon: Andy Warhol and the Factory [1969], The Family [1976],” Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA

2002 “Transformer II,” Air de Paris, Paris “Richard Avedon: In the American West,” Fundación La Caixa, CaixaForum, Barcelona
“Americans: Meisterwerke der amerikanischen Photographie,” Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Wörlen, Passau “Accrochage d´hiver: Photographies contemporaines,” Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris

2001 “Dressing Up,” Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA “Richard Avedon: Made in France,” Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA “Avedon’s American West,” Amon Carter Museum, Fort Worth, TX”Richard Avedon: In the American West,” Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Wolfsburg”The Contemporary Face: Von Pablo Picasso bis Alex Katz,” Deichtorhallen, Hamburg “More than One,” Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, NY

1999 – 2000    Early Portraits, Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco, CA

1994 – 1995      Richard Avedon: Evidence 1944-1994 (Retrospective), Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY

1991    Brandenburg Gate, East Berlin, New Year’s Eve, December 31, 1989 – January 1, 1990 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

1985    In the American West 1979-1984 (Portraits), Amon Carter Museum Fort Worth, TX

1980   Avedon: Retrospective 1946-1980 (Portraits, reportage, fashion retrospective), University Art Museum Berkeley, CA

1978   Avedon: Photographs 1947-1977, Metropolitan Museum of Art New York, NY
1975   Portraits 1969-1975, Marlborough Gallery New York, NY
1974  Jacob Israel Avedon (Portraits of the photographer’s father), Museum of Modern Art New York, NY

1970  Richard Avedon (Portrait Retrospective 1945-1970), Minneapolis Institute of Arts Minneapolis, MN

1962  Richard Avedon (Retrospective), Smithsonian Institution Washington, DC