In Memoriam: Sir John Richardson
I was very saddened to hear that Sir John Richardson died today at the age of 95. I just received an advance copy of his new book John Richardson: At Home last week and I was hoping to meet him at a signing or attend a speaking engagement. His loss is sad because his level of taste, as well as those of Lee Radziwill and Marella Agnelli, will never be replicated and there is most certainly not anyone who can compete with his scholarly achievements. His legacy as the biographer of artist Pablo Picasso will probably never be replicated by any other biographer mostly because he was actually friends with his subject. He was also friends with Peggy Guggenheim, Anthony Blunt, Andy Warhol, Lucien Freud, and other, many of whom created works of art of him. The only comfort in his passing is that he lived a wonderful long and interesting life.
The Art Newspaper sat down with Richardson shortly before he died to discuss his new book and the homes it features. It’s definitely worth reading until John Richardson: At Home is published on March 26, 2019 by Rizzoli.
“I loathe the decorator look. I think you’ve got to express yourself and in whatever form that takes it should reflect one’s on taste. Period rooms tend to bore me. The more historically correct that they are, the more museum-y they look. I like to mix things up so that they galvanize each other to life.”
The photos here are from Richardson’s home in Connecticut that was featured in T Magazine in 2014 and was sold in 2018. You can watch a video interview of Richardson here.
John Richardson: At Home will be released March 26, 2019 from Rizzoli.
In the library, a pair of Piranesi prints on doors flanking a 19th-century mirror in the manner of William Kent and a table covered in a print by Lisa Corti from John Derian.
A carved wooden bird found at a local junk shop and an 18th-century vase on the Louis XVI campaign desk where Richardson worked in the office library on the Connecticut property.
An enlarged photocopy of a signed Polaroid of John Richardson by Andy Warhol hangs on the wall next to antlers from Ireland.
On the right, an ink-wash drawing of Jacqueline Roque, the second wife of Picasso, hangs over the mirror. Other Picasso drawings are hung beside the fireplace.
The entry hall with 19th-century Indian prints of an elephant hunt and a metal plant made by a local Connecticut artist Bob Keating. The chandelier is Russian.
In the dining room, panels of hand-painted wallpaper alongside watercolors featuring the properties of the noble Hungarian Esterházy family.
Sir John Richardson sat down with Calder biographer Jed Perl to discuss the dynamism of these two artistic geniuses, the inadequacies of fixed methodologies, and the importance of keeping a fresh perspective. You can read the article here.
In the same room, a paisley cashmere textile over the window and Richardson’s bed, which bears a mark from Versailles.
Photos from T Magazine.