One of 3 Copies

Saroyan family album.

[New York: 1977].

Price: $75,000.00

About the item

One of three copies for the family. 35 black and white silver prints on 11 x 14 inch heavy paper. Oblong Folio. One of 3 Copies. Bound in full orange calf, stamped in gilt on upper cover "Avedon" and lower right "Saroyans'", by Jack Chitgian of Beverly Hills, with some soiling to covers; photos generally near fine. Saroyan, Aram. My Own Avedon. A Memoir with Photographs. Los Angeles: An Air Book, 2010.

Item #324474

Rare collection of photographs taken and, likely, developed and assembled all by Avedon himself, rather than by his studio, and characteristic of his private life, but not of his public oeuvre. The negatives are said to have been destroyed, to make this series irreproducible. The first photo, of the Avedon house in Bolinas, is titled and signed by Avedon. The last, a still life, is signed "27. 28. 29. 77 / Dick / XXX / OOO". The thirty-fifth photo, of Lucy Saroyan, whose set this was, is detached, and cropped at the bottom, with a crack on the image where something has fallen on it.

Aram Saroyan started working with Avedon in the 1950s, starting out after school for $10 per week. They stayed in touch with each other's work and remained friendly over the years. In May 1977, Avedon came to visit Aram, Gailyn, Strawberry, Cream, and Armenak Saroyan at their house in Bolinas. Aram's sister Lucy, an actress and model of Avedon's, came with. Avedon left his box camera at home, but after a few days missed his vocation and borrowed a Leica from the poet Bill Berkson, the Saroyans' neighbor. A few weeks after his return to New York, a package arrived from the studio:
"...a book of 35 photographs he'd taken during his visit. Spiral bound, the book was a series of images printed on heavy 11" x 14" photo paper, each sheet glued back-to-back to another sheet with another photograph.
"During the period I'd worked in the studio I'd heard whispers here and there in the photography world that without his support staff of assistants and master printers, Dick would be more or less helpless. As we beheld this marvel that rumor died an instant death. Different as it is, in its off-the-cuff fluency this work might even be reckoned a precursor to In the American West.
"There's a loving intimacy in these photographs which, while it isn't a recognized hallmark of the Avedon oeuvre, was nonetheless, as my relationship with him reflects, very much a part of his nature. It still troubles me that he would adamantly suppress this side of his practice in the work he made public." (Saroyan, My Own Avedon, which features five of the photos).