Richard Avedon: Photographs 1947 –1977, with an introduction by Harold Brodkey. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1978. First Edition.
In 1978 a major retrospective exhibition of Richard Avedon’s work opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Richard Avedon: Photographs 1947 –1977.
This volume was published concurrently but has since gone out of print. The exhibition was the first major photographic exhibition at the MMA, which in itself is surprising, but what makes this book so compelling is that it brings together the photographer’s most famous subjects: the rich, the famous, the celebrated –those who were, in essence, his bread and butter.
More importantly, we see his brilliance as a fashion photographer, elevating the genre far beyond what anyone had done before. Here we see the 20th century’s most notable fashion icons: Audrey Hepburn, Twiggy, Babe Paley, Dovima, not to mention the “swans”: Marella Agnelli, Mrs. JJ Astor, Sunny Harnett, and the Duchess of Alba. Of all of his monographs, this is perhaps Avedon’s most important volume.