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At its October 2015 Board of Trustees meeting, the National Gallery of Art acquired a large number of drawings, prints and photographs that greatly strengthen its collection. Highlights include extraordinary drawings by Pieter Jansz Saenredam (1597–1665) and Hans Rottenhammer (1564–1625), a bound volume with over 200 15th-century woodcuts, as well as a painting from the Thesaurus series by Mel Bochner (b. 1940). Promised photographs include numerous outstanding gelatin silver prints by Diane Arbus (1923–1971), Richard Avedon (1923–2004), and Robert Frank (b. 1924).

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A Richard Avedon photograph has reportedly been withdrawn from an auction at Christie's over complaints by the Avedon Foundation.

The photo, a 1962 portrait of ballet icon Rudolf Nureyev, belongs to ballet dancer Eric Walters, who says he bought it at Christie's in 1995 for just $1,610, according to the New York Post. But when Walters tried to sell the photo this year at the same auction house with a high estimate of $15,000, the Avedon Foundation, which is based in New York, stepped in.

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The National Museum of American Jewish History in Philadelphia will be the only U.S. venue to feature Richard Avedon: Family Affairs, from the collection of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The exhibition, on view from April 1 through August 2, presents a compelling collective historical portrait of American cultural and political life during the late 1960s and 1970s.

Richard Avedon was born to a Jewish family in 1923; his father was a Russian-born immigrant and his mother from New York. Working until his death in 2004, he shaped America’s image of beauty, celebrity, and politics for over a half century. Famous at an early age, he was well-known for challenging conventions and exploring the boundaries between high art and social commentary. Family Affairs features two monumental projects by Avedon, both illustrating his highly innovative approach to portrait photography.

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Richard Avedon may be synonymous with iconic fashion photography, but the lensman was known for his striking portraits of powerful personalities too.

While on commission by Rolling Stone magazine to cover the 1976 presidential election, Avedon created black and white portraits of luminaries such as Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford; A.M. Rosenthal, a former managing editor of the New York Times who gained fame for publishing the Pentagon Papers; and W. Mark Felt, also known as “Deep Throat.” Sixty nine of these portraits, collectively titled “The Family,” will feature as part of “Richard Avedon: Family Affairs,” now on at the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) in Philadelphia.

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Monday, 13 August 2012 18:05

Collecting Art Considered the New Gold

As the world economy began to tank about five years ago, a curious thing happened at the top level of the international art market: It started to boom. At the annual spring art auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's in New York and their branches around the globe, deep-pocketed bidders snapped up Braques and Bacons, Klimts and Kandinskys, often at record prices.

Now with the global recession officially over but the American and European economies still shaky, auction records for blue-chip modern and contemporary art continue to be shattered. Just a few months ago, a pastel version of Edvard Munch’s "The Scream" (1895) fetched an astounding $119.9 million at Sotheby’s, by far the highest price ever paid at auction for a work of art, surpassing the winning bid of $106.5 million for Picasso's "Nude, Green Leaves and Bust" (1932) at Christie’s two years earlier. A week after the gavel fell on the Munch, Mark Rothko's "Orange, Red, Yellow" (1961) went for nearly $87 million, the artist’s personal best at auction.

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