Auction of Avedon photos biggest ever

The largest sale of photos by the late fashion photographer Richard Avedon will take place in November in Paris with more than 60 images on the block.

Fashion photographer shot elegant black-and-white images

An auction in Paris of works by acclaimed fashion photographer Richard Avedon will be largest number of images by the late artist to ever be put on the block.

Avedon, who died in 2004 at age 81, was famous for his elegant and often playful black-and-white photographs of models and celebrities.

His most famous picture may be Dovima with Elephants, a 224-centimetre by 152-centimetre print that adorned the entrance to his New York City studio for more than two decades. It will be among 65 prints being put up for sale in Paris on Nov. 20.

The shot of the supermodel taken on a hot summer day in 1955 at the Cirque d'hiver in Paris has become an iconic image of Avedon's skill. It is expected to fetch as much as $700,000 US.

"Richard Avedon is by any standards a towering figure in the story of photography," said Philippe Garner, Christie's head of 20th-century decorative arts and photographs.

"His work has power, authority and intensity, very distinctive signature."

The Richard Avedon Foundation, created after the photographer died to support the visual arts as well as photographic education, is releasing the photographs in order to continue its work.  It is also seeking to establish an endowment in Avedon's name.

Avedon's 60-year career included assignments for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar, capturing the fashion and models of the time including Twiggy, Veruschka and Jean Shrimpton.

He was also adept at portraits of famous people from all walks of life, including The Beatles, Marilyn Monroe and Malcolm X.

A small print of Monroe in a sequined dress (1957) is set to sell for as much as $150,000 US.

In all, Christie's says it expects to rake in between $3.7 and $6 million from the auction.

With files from The Associated Press