Sotheby’s will present A Beautiful Life: Photographs from the Collection of Leland Hirsch in a dedicated auction on 10 April 2018, highlighting Sotheby’s spring sales of Photographs in New York. Assembled with passion over the course of nearly two decades by the ‘godfather of haircolor,’ this photographs collection contains some of the most recognizable images of the 20th and 21st centuries, including works by Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Man Ray and Diane Arbus, among others. The collection will be on public view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries beginning 4 April, alongside the seasonal presale exhibition of Photographs.
A pioneer in the creative and scientific development of beauty products, an authority on hair color, visionary thought-leader and industry innovator, Leland Hirsch has defined both his career and art collection by the search for “what should be that is not.” The exceptional collection he created reflects a unique and sophisticated vision that is sensitive to life’s beautiful contradictions, from Man Ray’s Surrealist Bras (Arm) (estimate $80/120,000) to Richard Avedon’s iconic Dovima with Elephants, Evening Dress by Dior, Cirque d’Hiver, Paris, August 1955 (estimate $300/500,000) and Diane Arbus’s disquieting Child with a Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C (estimate $70/100,000).
His affinity for glossy, editorial images such as Irving Penn’s Issey Miyake Design with Black Fan (estimate $15/25,000), Herb Ritts’ iconic Stephanie, Cindy, Christy, Tatjana, Naomi, Hollywood (estimate $50/70,000) and Steven Meisel’s Madonna Hitching (estimate $5/7,000) was developed after decades working with amazing photographers, models and beauty editors from the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s such as Shirley Lord and Dorothy Schefer (Vogue), Felicia Milewicz (Mademoiselle and Glamour) and many others. As the beauty editors’ “go-to” person for professional haircolor, Leland provided commentary and visual concepts for what was new. He has an innate ability to interpret new ideas for editorials, and photography, connecting the idea to the consumer.
Leland Hirsch commented: “When looking at photography as a collector, there is a personal connection between you as the collector, and the photograph. I am drawn to vibrant, exciting images that tell a special story.”
Born into a family of chemists, Leland has been surrounded by the beauty industry from an early age. In the 1960s and 1970s, he began his career as a haircolor developmental consultant for Redken Laboratories and Logics/Clairol. In 1972, he opened The Color Salon, the world’s largest haircolor department, at NuBest & Co. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, he revolutionized the haircolor industry with the development and introduction of Artec professional haircolor and color care products. It became one of the most successful professional beauty companies and was acquired by L’Oréal Paris. In 2000, Leland joined industry icons Vidal Sassoon and Paul Mitchell when he became the first haircolor specialist to receive the North American Hairstyling Lifetime Achievement Award from the Professional Beauty Association. Today, at his new company Celeb Luxury, Leland continues his search for “what should be that is not,” developing unique, innovative products.