1 portrait of Wystan Hugh ('W.H.') Auden
by Richard Avedon
bromide print, 1960
23 5/8 in. x 19 in. (600 mm x 483 mm)
Given by the photographer, Richard Avedon, 1995
Artistback to top
- Richard Avedon (1923-2004), Fashion photographer. Artist of 10 portraits, Sitter in 1 portrait.
This portraitback to top
In the late 1950s Auden returned to England, where he had been elected professor of poetry at Oxford. Despite residual hostility in his home country caused by his move to America, his three annual lectures were highly successful and published in The Dyer's Hand (1962). Auden continued to spend his winters in New York, and this portrait was taken near his apartment in St Mark's Place, the year he published Homage to Clio.
Linked publicationsback to top
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 209
- Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 209 Read entry
Throughout a long career as one of the most prolific post-war American photographers, Richard Avedon has taken many memorable images of famous sitters. The majority are photographed in the studio, but this portrait of the poet W.H. Auden was taken through a snowstorm in St Mark's Place, New York, on 3 March 1960.
- Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 23
Events of 1960back to top
Current affairsPrince Andrew is born, the third child of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
The Contraceptive Pill is introduced in England, dramatically changing the nation's approach to sex and relationships, and significantly contributing to the 1960s culture of liberation.
Art and sciencePenguin books defend D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover against charges of obscenity by demonstrating that the novel was of literary merit. The 'not guilty' verdict was seen as a victory for free speech and marked the beginning if a new era of liberalism.
The satirical review Beyond the Fringe launches the careers of Alan Bennett, Peter Cook, Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller.