The in Jerusalem has announced a gift of seventy-four photographs by artist Richard Avedon from three donors.
The joint gift from philanthropist and cosmetics mogul Leonard Lauder, the , and gallery owner Larry Gagosian is a cohesive body of photographic portraiture created between 1969 and 1976. The donation was initiated by Lauder after he learned that Avedon's work was not represented in the Israel Museum's collection. The donated works include the iconic 20-by-8-foot mural "Allen Ginsberg's family, Paterson, New Jersey, May 3, 1970" (printed 1993), given by Lauder through the , which he helped establish; a complete set of the artist's four smaller-format murals created between 1969 and 1971, and given jointly by Gagosian and the Avedon Foundation; and The Family (printed 1976), a portfolio of sixty-nine prints first published in Rolling Stone magazine that was given by Lauder and Gagosian. The seventy-four works will be on view at the museum in spring 2014 as part of its "Focus on the Collection" exhibition series.
Avedon began his career in the mid-1940s as an innovative fashion photographer who introduced narrative elements into traditional fashion spreads. In 1969, he adopted what would become his signature portrait style — subjects posed singly or in groups against a stark white background that allowed their distinct personalities to emerge. According to museum officials, the works "capture this moment of transition in Avedon's career and demonstrate his central role as an artist who chronicled an era of conflicting ideas, radical politics, and shifting social mores."
"The Israel Museum is tremendously grateful to Leonard Lauder, the Richard Avedon Foundation, and Larry Gagosian for this wonderful gift and this exemplary model of patronage," said James S. Snyder, the Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum. "Leonard, the foundation, and Larry clearly understood how important it was to have Avedon represented in our collection, and their vision and generosity have provided us with a cohesive body of work of one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century."