The Family was published in Rolling Stone magazine as a 73 image picture story by Richard Avedon on October 21st, 1976, in issue no. 224, and was accompanied by the following text:
'Early this year we asked Richard Avedon--one of the world's greatest photographers--to cover America's bicentennial presidential election. Our original idea was to publish a chronicle of the campaign--the candidates and the conventions--from beginning to end. Shortly after accepting our commission, Mr. Avedon called to say that there was more to the election than met the eye; that the real story was not simply the candidates, but a broad group of men and women--some of whom we had never heard of before--who constitute the political leadership of America. Thus began a special issue of Rolling Stone, a collection of 73 portraits. The project was edited by Renata Adler, author of Toward a Radical Middle and the recently published novel, Speedboat. Aside from the accompanying Who's Who biographies, there is no text; we think the portraits speak for themselves' Rolling Stone, October 21, 1976, no. 224, p. 5.
On October 25, 2002, a working maquette for The Family consisting of 31 gelatin silver prints paper-clipped onto sheets of paper was sold for the then world record price for Richard Avedon's work at auction. The present lot is an earlier incarnation of that object, and perhaps the first 'rough sketch' for the picture story. In this earlier maquette, highly typical to Avedon's process in developing ideas for stories, 20 gelatin silver contact prints were fixed (with scotch tape) into a March 13, 1976 copy of Rolling Stone that Avedon received in the mail (the 407 East 75th Street subscription label remains affixed to the cover). This maquette provides an excellent opportunity to chart, in a linear fashion, the development of Avedon's ideas from near inception into a final, published product.
A portfolio titled The Family, consisting of 69 gelatin silver prints was produced by Avedon in 1976 in an edition of 26. Complete sets have been located in the following collections: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C., Hasseblad Center Collection, Göteborg, Sweden.