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Bonhams Skinner : Richard Avedon : Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent


Bonhams Skinner proposes he iconic image of Nastassja Kinski, German actress and model at the height of her career, with a Burmese python draped across her body captured by Richard Avedon for Vogue in 1981. It is a highlight of the sale running until May 15.

Avedon was commissioned by Vogue to photograph Kinski after the release of Roman Polanski’s movie Tess for which she won a Golden Globe award. Estimated to achieve between US$60,000 – 80,000, the image which evokes the biblical imagery of Eve and the serpent would go on to become one of the most reproduced posters in history.


Richard Avedon (1923-2004)
Nastassja Kinski and the Serpent, Los Angeles, California, 1981
Provenance : Acquired at a benefit auction for the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, in 1987 by the current owner.
Oversized gelatin silver print; signed ‘Avedon’ lower right; framed.
31 7/8 x 48 1/2 in. (81.1 x 123.4 cm)
sheet 32 1/2 x 49 1/4 in. (82.3 x 125.3 cm)


Ending from 15 May 2024, 13:00 EDT
Skinner Marlborough, Massachusetts
US$60,000 – US$80,000

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