Richard Avedon

American (New York City, New York, 1923 - 2004, San Antonio, Texas)

Dick Hickock, Murderer, Garden City, Kansas, April 15, 1960

1960; printed 1999
photograph | gelatin silver print
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  • Dick Hickock, Murderer, Garden City, Kansas, April 15, 1960

    Richard Avedon, Dick Hickock, Murderer, Garden City, Kansas, April 15, 1960, 1960; printed 1999; gelatin silver print, 13 3/4 in. x 14 in. (34.93 cm x 35.56 cm); Collection SFMOMA, Accessions Committee Fund purchase; © The Richard Avedon Foundation

Avedon photographed Richard Hickock as the latter awaited trial for the 1959 murder of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas — a crime that netted Hickock and his accomplice forty dollars and a portable radio. The minimal, straightforward style of the photograph highlights the idiosyncrasies of the killer's face and suggests that the photographer is looking for evidence, should it exist, of a homicidal pathology.

At the time the picture was made, the country was gripped by the details of this apparently motiveless crime. In 1965 Truman Capote published In Cold Blood, his nonfiction novel about the Holcomb murders. Capote's look into the heart of rural 1950s America had a disturbing documentary clarity not unlike Avedon's portrait of Hickock.

13 3/4 in. x 14 in. (34.93 cm x 35.56 cm)
Acquired 2000
Collection SFMOMA
Accessions Committee Fund purchase
© The Richard Avedon Foundation


men, portraits, murderers, criminals

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