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Beaux Books

Photographs by Richard Avedon. Comments by Truman Capote.


Richard Avedon's first book, filled with his portraits of artists and performers.

Photographs by Richard Avedon. Comments by Truman Capote.

Observations Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London. 1959. First edition. British edition. 1959


White printed paper-covered boards, clear acetate dust jacket, white printed card slipcase. 152 pages. Black & white gravure plates throughout. English. 380 x 280mm (15 x 11). 2.2kg.


American photographer Richard Avedon's first book. It is filled with portraits of artists and performers taken by Avedon, accompanied by the irreverent words of Truman Capote. The book was largely a result of the creative collaboration between Avedon and Alexey Brodovitch, art director at Harper's Bazaar, who hired a young Avedon in 1945 to work on the magazine. Many of the photographs included in the book were originally published in Harper's and Brodovitch is responsible for the sleek and graphically simple book design. Sitters include Marella Agnelli, Gloria Vanderbilt, Marilyn Monroe, Chanel, Jean Cocteau, Judy Garland, Cecil Beaton, Igor Stravinsky and Somerset Maugham. [Hasselblad Center. The Open Book. p.174-5; Roth. The Book of 101 Books. p.148-9; Auer. 802 Photo Books. p.386]

Current Condition

Very good; boards and acetate jacket near fine, with no marks or tears; no inscriptions; slipcase has light wear to forecorners and spine, a small scratch to surface of front board, some light browning and spotting; an excellent copy of a notoriously fragile book