Sotheby's, New York, October 5, 1995, lot 454A.
Avedon's camera refuses to confer distinction. It meets each individual head-on; [his subjects are] allowed only such graces as may come through the vacant stare of the lens.
Avedon and Baldwin, Nothing Personal, Penguin Books, 1964, unpaginated;
Avedon, Portraits, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976, unpaginated;
Avedon, Autobiography, Random House, 1993, pl. 134;
Avedon, Evidence, 1944-1994, Random House, 1994, p. 138;
Avedon, Portraits, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2002, unpaginated.
Post Lot Text
This poignant image has been the subject of considerable commentary. Colin Westerbeck has noted how 'From his 1957 photograph of Marilyn Monroe, characteristically, Avedon banished every trace of the erotic charm and effervescence for which the actress was celebrated. She appears here crestfallen. Behind the beautiful face, her spirits sag as gravely as the body beneath the sequinned dress.
Avedon's portrait has turned his subject from a star into a mere mortal. Avedon published this image in his 1964 book Nothing Personal with the caption, 'Marilyn Monroe, Actress', as if she were someone unknown, an example of a social type like the subjects labelled only by their professions in the 1920s work of August Sander (to which Avedon was, quite consciously, making allusion).' (quoted in: 'Beyond the Photographic Frame', On the Art of Fixing a Shadow, Bulfinch Press Little, Brown & Company, 1989, p. 374.)