Annie Leibovitz, ‘Muhammad Ali, New York’, 1996, Phillips

An Influential Vision: The Collection of Ruth Ansel

From the Catalogue:
While at Vanity Fair from 1983-1988, Ruth Ansel continued to work with ground-breaking photographers whose portraits defined the era, including Annie Leibovitz (lots 141-142) and Bruce Weber (lot 140). On working with Leibovitz, Ansel recalled, "Annie has the same kind of restless and controlling energy as Avedon did. She never tires, is demanding drives her studio people relentlessly and often becomes so passionate about reaching that place of perfection that she loses objectivity. Even when tensions are at their highest, she has a devoted nucleus of people who believe in her so completely that they share her passion for perfection. Her interest is in getting something unpredictable from the sitter. It is the same result I hope to achieve as a magazine art director. She is a conceptual artist, a fashion photographer and a portraitist, which is why her work is so much in demand." Ansel continues, "She gives precise and clear instructions as to what she wants and how she sees it, especially when she works with performers, but always leaves room for collaboration between herself and the subject."

The portrait of Muhammad Ali in the present lot was taken in 1996, the same year Ali memorably lit the Olympic Cauldron to open the Atlanta Games. Bruce Weber’s spread of Sam Shepard and Jessica Lange (lot 140) as well as the Leibovitz’ Selected Portraits, on offer as lot 142, were published under Ansel’s art direction.
Courtesy of Phillips

One from an edition of 40 plus artist's proofs.

Signature: Signed, titled, numbered AP 14 and inscribed 'for Ruth' in ink in the margin.

Directly from the artist

About Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is heralded as one of the greatest portrait photographers of her time, having captured images of some of the most influential figures of the past 40 years for commercial and editorial assignments. Trademarks of Leibovitz’s style are bold contrasts and dramatic poses, and she cites photographers Robert Frank and Richard Avedon as influences. Perhaps her most famous image is the raw, intimate portrait of a nude John Lennon clinging to wife Yoko Ono, taken for the cover of Rolling Stone only hours before Lennon was killed.

American, b. 1949, Waterbury, Connecticut

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Hangaram Art Museum of Seoul, 
Vogue: Like A Painting
Lentos Kunstmuseum, 
Linz, Austria,
Der nackte Mann
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