The American photographer Annie Leibovitz, who is represented by super-gallery Hauser & Wirth, is to sell her impressive 3,500 square-foot Upper Westside Manhattan duplex. The property is back on the market at $8.6 million, down from the $11.3m she paid nine years ago at the height of the property boom.
Leibovitz, 74, has decided to bid farewell to her sprawling digs as the apartment has become too vast for her now that her three adult daughters are off carving their paths in the world. Over the years, the building has been a residence to A-listers such as Robert De Niro, Lorne Michaels, Paul Simon, and Sting.
The apartment retains its pre-war charm, featuring 11-foot ceilings, oak floors, and ornate mouldings, elements that effortlessly blend history with modern luxury. The entrance to the apartment opens into a spacious foyer leading to a grand 32-by-21-foot living room.
This elegant space is complete with a decorative fireplace, built-in bookshelves, and oversized windows framing picturesque views of the park. French and pocket doors usher guests into the dining room, which boasts its original coffered ceiling and floors.
Leibovitz has created an indelible mark on the photographic medium with her evocative images. Born on October 2, 1949, in Waterbury, Connecticut, Leibovitz’s journey to becoming one of the most celebrated photographers of our time is as fascinating as the images she captures.
Leibovitz’s passion for photography ignited during her time at the San Francisco Art Institute, where she studied painting. However, her love for storytelling and visual expression led her to the world of photography. She showed exceptional talent early on, catching the eye of Jann Wenner, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine.
In 1970, at 21, Leibovitz started working as a staff photographer for Rolling Stone, an association that would prove pivotal in her career. Her distinctive style, which combined raw intimacy with artistic finesse, quickly made her a sought-after photographer. Her ability to capture the essence of her subjects, often musicians and celebrities, set her apart in an industry dominated by male photographers.
During her tenure at Rolling Stone, Leibovitz created some of her most iconic works. Her photographs of musicians like John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan became symbolic images of an era of cultural revolution and artistic innovation. The 1975 Rolling Stone cover featuring a naked John Lennon and Yoko Ono, taken just hours before Lennon’s tragic death, remains one of her most famous and controversial works.
In 1983, Leibovitz left Rolling Stone and began working for Vanity Fair, where her celebrity portraits continued to garner attention. Her Vanity Fair covers and editorial spreads showcased various subjects, from Hollywood stars to political figures, always with her signature blend of vulnerability and strength. Leibovitz’s work for Vanity Fair earned her numerous accolades and solidified her status as a master of contemporary portraiture.
Later, Leibovitz expanded her repertoire by working with Vogue, where she further demonstrated her ability to capture the essence of fashion and style. Much like her portraits, her fashion photography was marked by creativity and a keen understanding of the human form, making her a highly sought-after talent in the fashion industry.
Leibovitz’s life was not without challenges. She faced personal tragedies, including losing her partner, the feminist writer Susan Sontag, in 2004. In 2009 she borrowed $15.5m (£10.3m) from Art Capital Group, a company that lends money to art owners. To secure the loans she put up the rights to all her photographs as collateral, along with several houses she owned. But the deal quickly turned sour. Lawyers for Art Capital Group claimed that Leibovitz had reneged on a promise to sell her back catalogue to repay her debts, and sued her for $24m. The dispute was later resolved. Despite these hardships, her dedication to her craft never wavered. Her experiences seemed to deepen her work, adding layers of emotion and introspection to her photographs.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons Leibovitz_Annie-091030-6841 Franz Johann Morgenbesser from Vienna, Austria