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John Richardson and Friends

John Richardson’s circle of friends in the art world was wide and varied, from the larger-than-life master Pablo Picasso, to lesser-known contemporaries and emerging artists. A consummate collector, Richardson acquired works of art by his friends, images of friends, and was gifted works over the years by many artists whose work he admired. Seen together, they help tell the story of John Richardson’s life and collection.

As a seventeen-year-old art student at the Slade School in London, Richardson met fellow artist Geoffrey Bennison, who would become a renowned British interior designer and antiques dealer. Several works on paper by Bennison are included in the collection, including the portrait of Richardson that Bennison made c. 1942 (lot 37) and two ink drawings (lot 148). During his time at the Slade School, Richardson also met Lucian Freud. The two became friends and Freud would paint Richardson’s portrait which is being donated by the estate to the National Portrait Gallery.  Photographs by Freud’s studio assistant, David Dawson, of Freud in his studio (lot 241), painting the Queen (lot 242), and painting David Hockney (lot 243) were gifted to Richardson. Hockney gave Richardson two works in the collection, a print from 1987 (lot 245) and a print made after a portrait of Richardson (lot 244).  Also in his circle at the time was Francis Bacon who was introduced to Richardson by his friend painter Michael Wishart. Shortly thereafter, Richardson met Douglas Cooper. The couple moved to France c. 1952 where, through Cooper, Richardson would meet the Cubist artists he collected: Georges Braque, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, and Pablo Picasso. Works by these artists in the collection include a Léger poster (lot 266), and a gouache by his wife Nadia Petrova Léger (lot 268), works by Picasso (lots 5, 7, 11, 42, 47, 442, 443 and 446), and two charming photographs of Braque (lot 234). During his years in France, Richardson met and befriended many artists whose works are now part of his collection, including Jean Hugo (lots 171-173), Christian Bérard (lots 35 and 36), César (Lots 395-396), Henri Matisse (lots 43 and 45), Amedée Ozenfant (lots 56 and 57), and Renato Guttuso (Lots 378-380).

In 1960, Richardson left France and moved to New York where he would easily join the art world cirlces of his new home. Logically, Richardson became friends with Warhol and the group of artists, creatives and hangers-on at the Factory. Warhol painted John Richardson in 1973. The painting was donated to the Tate, but a copy is included in the collection (lot 257) as well as a copy of one of the polaroids taken by Warhol during the sittings with Richardson (lot 258). Through his work at Christie’s and his curatorial projects, Richardson’s artist friends in New York are too many to name. Works in the collection include those by Hugo Guiness (lots 496-497) and Elliott Puckette (lots 12, 295-297), Michael leonard (lots 34, 39, 373), David McDermott & Peter McGough (lots 19-21), John Giorno (lot 29), Monica Incisa (lot 40), Elizabeth Butterworth (lots 153 and 154), Annie Liebowitz (lot 235), Francois-Marie Banier (lot 237), David Bailey (lot 238), Gideon Lewin (lot 240), Ugo Rondinone (lot 267), Alex Hoda (lots 281-285), Harold Cohen (lots 301-302), Keith Milow (lots 292-294), and Jean-Loup Champion (lot 394).

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