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PHOTOGRAPHS BY WILLIAM EGGLESTON FROM THE COLLECTION OF TOM AND CAROLYN YOUNG 'I love abstract painting'. I spend a lot of time looking at it. I bet that subconsciously it had something to do with what I was trying to get at.' William Eggleston 'I had starting out three sort of key figures, the third being most important. The first was [Warren] Brandt [head of the art department, University of Mississippi], second was a man named Andrew Morgan...another excellent teacher, who would support whatever I did on paper or canvas. But at this point I met Tom Young, whose best friend was Franz Kline. Tom was friends with Jackson Pollock and that group of artists in New York in the fifties. Tom happened to marry a girl from Mississippi and elected to leave that scene and bring up a family, so he came south to teach. He saw my first photography and the drawings I did then. We kind of worked together. He went to Pope, Mississippi--one of his wife's family owned several stores there, in what is virtually a ghost town now and Tom converted one of them into a studio. We spent months together down there, just building strange things and doing drawings on nine-by-twelve-foot pieces of paper. All these people instilled in me, before I got to Memphis...a terrific amount of confidence. Which would never have happened if I had not met them, if I had hung around the old guard of friends who never got out of the county, much less the state or the country.' William Eggleston: Democratic Camera

Greenwood, Mississippi, 1973

Greenwood, Mississippi, 1973
dye-transfer print
signed, dated 'Dec. 1976' and inscribed 'To Tom. I love you my friend. Damn the tarantulas, full steam ahead.' in ink (on the verso)
image: 13 7/8 x 21 5/8in. (35.3 x 55cm.)
sheet: 20 x 24in. (50.7 x 61cm.)
Gift from the artist
Eggleston, Ancient and Modern, Random House, 1992, p. 29; The Hasselblad Award 1998: William Eggleston, Hasselblad Center, 1999, n.p.; William Eggleston, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain/Thames and Hudson, 2001, cover and pl. 110; Sussman and Weski, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008, Whitney Museum of American Art/Yale University Press, 2008, frontispiece and pl. 77, p. 157

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Lot Essay

Tom Young is a gifted abstract expressionist painter who was a founding member of the radical 10th Street co-operative galleries in New York City in the 1950s, where he worked alongside Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston. He met William Eggleston in 1960 while artist-in-residence at 'Ole Miss' (University of Mississippi) where Tom became a close friend and something of a mentor.
Around 1964, having abandoned his studies without graduating, Eggleston went to Paris to take photographs, but returned to Memphis without a single shot. He explained to Young that he was unable to work because he disliked everything around him. Young suggested that Eggleston use this malaise as the basis for his photographs. It was advice clearly taken. Eggleston's subsequent 'democratic' approach was fully realized in the photographer's magnificent and disturbingly vibrant 'Greenwood, Mississippi' of 1973 (see lot 228), here inscribed affectionately, 'To Tom, I love you my friend. Damn the tarantulas, full steam ahead.'
Young also accompanied Eggleston on assignments: to Graceland in 1983 (see lot 232) and to Mexico in 1987 to visit Young's friend architect and artist Mathias Goeritz (see lot 233).
Young documented these projects (as well as many others) in a blizzard of snapshots of Eggleston at work, a fascinating and integral part of the family's collection. He also made more formal portraits of his friend as seen in lot 229, taken in 1985 in the Young's living room in New Orleans.
William Eggleston's career has been justifiably illustrious. Tom Young's has also been distinguished and enlightened, if less public. He quietly continued to paint - and to teach. In 1970 he was appointed chair of the newly created art department at Louisiana State University in New Orleans (today The University of New Orleans) where his contribution to art and to the institution was marked by a retrospective exhibition of his work at the University's Ogden Museum in 2008.
Christie's is honored to present the following six lots on behalf of the Young family. In so doing, we applaud the meaningful and enduring friendship of two significant artists who have had such an impact on one another and on those around them.

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