Purple Diary

purple fashion magazine
— S/S 2010 issue 13

John Richardson

JOHN RICHARDSON is a British art historian, writer, and most importantly, Picasso’s intimate biographer. Since the ’70s, Richardson has lived a flamboyant life in a gigantic loft in New York City, which he tends to like a European treasure chest. In June, 2009, he curated “Mosqueteros,” an exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery of Picasso’s last works, offering the possibility to reconsider these previously ill-received works from the end of the master’s life. Richardson, a long-time contributor to Vanity Fair, is the living memory of modern art. Yet he still thrives on making friends with younger generations. Daphne Guinness, one of John’s best friends, gave me the chance to meet him, one I couldn’t pass up.


photographs by OLIVIER ZAHM

PURPLE — You really have some amazing things here in your apartment.

JOHN RICHARDSON — They’re just things I’ve accumulated in my life, that I’ve ended up with, that have stuck to me. My fetishes. I’m like a witch doctor with all his junk around him — and a witch doctor doesn’t sell his fetishes. A lot of it isn’t really all that precious — in fact, some of it is rubbish. I just like having a nest. I’m like a demented bird bringing back bits and making my little nest — or, rather, my big nest. It’s my territory and I feel safe here. You know, I’m 85 years old. I’m just very, very old. I may need to get wheeled around. I want a nice place to die in. [Laughs]

PURPLE – You arrived in New York in 1959, right?

JOHN RICHARDSON – Yes. I fell in love with the city. It was heaven. I was brought up in London and I’m a real Londoner. My family has lived in London since the 18th Century. But I got bored in London, so I moved to Provence and I lived there for ten or 12 years. Then I went to New York. I still had a flat in London, in the Albany apartments. I thought I would be able to live in London and rent a place in New York and go back and forth. Then Christie’s auction house asked me to head their New York operation and suddenly I had a real job. I didn’t know much about America, but they wanted me because I had lived with Douglas...

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[October 8 2015] : Travel

A trip to Kyoto
View the gallery

A trip to Kyoto

Photo Kazumi Asamura Hayashi

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Purple News

Demna Gvasalia, the designer behind Vetements, has been appointed the new artistic director of Balenciaga.

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[October 8 2015] : Night

Derek Blasberg and Jared Leto at Derek Blasberg’s book signing for “Harper’s Bazaar: Models” at Colette, Paris

Derek Blasberg and Jared Leto at Derek Blasberg’s book signing for his new book “Harper’s Bazaar: Models” at Colette, Paris.

Photo Flo Kohl