- Associated Press - Thursday, November 18, 2010

PARIS (AP) - A model in a silk Dior gown, posing with elephants. The psychedelically colored faces of the Beatles. A soot-covered coal miner.

Christie’s in Paris will auction some of Richard Avedon’s most prized photographs Saturday to raise money for the foundation set up by the influential American portrait and fashion photographer before his death in 2004.

The more than 60 photographs are expected to raise $6 million. The auction represents the largest collection of Avedon’s work to reach market.

Highlights of the sale include a rare portrait of Pablo Picasso, a photograph of Andy Warhol posing with youths _ some naked _ as well as the largest photograph in print of Avedon’s famous shot of model Dovima posing with elephants at a circus. The photographs of the Beatles in trippy colors _ atypical of Avedon’s stripped-down style _ will also be up for bid.

“He left a rule in his will that no new prints could be made after his death, so that’s something that we observe religiously. We also are constrained from selling any prints that are not signed,” Paul Roth, executive director of the Richard Avedon Foundation, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Avedon’s career framed fashion photography as modern art in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and The New Yorker. His style, though minimalist, captured dramatic contrasts and movements.

“He really was quite demanding as a photographer but also so charismatic,” said Malgosia Bela, a model who worked with Avedon, touring the photos on display ahead of the sale. “It’s a great memory.”

Bela said she saw her photograph for the first time in print.

Ten years after the photo was shot, “it’s still one of my favorite pictures _ fashion pictures _ that I’ve ever done,” Bela said.

Along with fashion photographs, the auction will include several portraits. Selections from In the American West, a series of photographs that captured ordinary people such as coal miners, housewives and children, will also be on sale.

Avedon created the foundation, the largest repository of his works, to encourage the study and protection of his work and legacy. Roth said the foundation is now also starting to support photography education.

The auction coincides with Paris Photo 2010, an annual photography fair that brings international photography buyers to the city.

“I think that every photographer working owes some debt to Avedon and what he accomplished in the period beginning right after the second World War, continuing through the 1950s and continually reinventing himself and his vision,” said Stuart Alexander, senior specialist in photographs and vice president of Christie’s in New York.

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