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Gagosian Takes on Avedon

Gagosian Gallery is to become the exclusive, worldwide representative of the Avedon Foundation.

Richard Avedon, who passed away in 2004, has been hailed as one of the greatest photographers of all time. From his glamorous fashion photography to his revealing portraits of the American West, Avedon left behind an impressive body of work. The Avedon Foundation, structured by Avedon during his lifetime, now has a large holding of his works. It operates to preserve the photographer’s legacy through publications, touring exhibitions, and outreach to the academic community, and by distributing prints and materials to cultural institutions.

Carol Vogel at the New York Times reported this week that Paul Roth, director of the Foundation, “had been trying to find a partnership that made sense, given the mission of promoting the legacy of [Avedon.]” Roth finally found Gagosian.

Why would Roth choose a gallery that is currently losing a high-profile legal battle? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, Larry Gagosian may nevertheless be “the most powerful art dealer in the world.” With gallery outposts around the world, Gagosian is a good vehicle for promoting and disseminating Avedon’s legacy. Furthermore, Roth noted that Gagosian represents other artists from the same era, allowing Avedon’s work “to be seen in relation to the art of his time.”

It would be interesting to see what the contractual agreement that embodies this mutually beneficial partnership will look like. What kinds of legal obligations will be placed on the parties? How consistent will it be with the structure that Avedon put in place for his legacy?

Vogel reports that Gagosian is planning a major Avedon exhibition in New York next year.

Read the article at the New York Times