Explore the treasure-filled New York home of art historian John Richardson

An art critic’s movable feast

The late art historian John Richardson was one of the last great characters of the 20th-century art scene in Europe and New York, counting Picasso, Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud and Jean Cocteau as friends, and filling his many houses with their work and antics.

From a chateau in France post-war to a set in London’s famed Albany, then on to a damp New York brownstone, a Connecticut mansion and finally back in New York in a downtown loft, Richardson created extraordinary interiors with as much verve as he cultivated interesting relationships.

John Richardson at Home is not merely a stylish and gossipy journey through his various homes, it also acts as the art doyen’s last word – Richardson died in March 2019, weeks before the book was published by Rizzoli.

In his last home, a large downtown loft on New York’s 5th Avenue, Richardson distilled his vision and his historic art and furniture collection into an exuberant clash of colour, culture and masterpieces. In one room a mirrored wall plays host to a trio of works by Lucian Freud, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and Picasso, while a whale’s penis juts from a potted fern below. In the corner of his studio, a canopy bed stamped with insignia from Versailles is framed by two gleaming tortoise shells.

John Richardson's Fifth Avenue Loft, New York. Photography: François Halard
John Richardson’s Fifth Avenue Loft, New York. Photography: François Halard

Richardson never lived in the UK again after his final move to New York in 1980, but the English influence is present in all his American houses, in Colefax & Fowler fabrics, Cole & Son wallpaper, an inimitable blend of the ancient, old and new. But it is his relationships that centre each home, the portraits made by Warhol, the signed prints from Picasso, the framed photographs of Cocteau, all tell the story of a man at the centre of a fascinating time in modern art’s evolution.

‘John Richardson at Home’ is out now, published via Rizzoli

John Richardson's Fifth Avenue Loft, New York. Photography: François Halard
John Richardson’s Fifth Avenue Loft, New York. Photography: François Halard
John Richardson’s Fifth Avenue Loft, New York. Photography: François Halard

Read next:  Artist Anja Niemi on capturing the foreign and the absurd

Latest Stories

Latest

Share Tweet
+

Privacy Preference Center

Required Cookies & Technologies

Some of the technologies we use are necessary for critical functions like security and site integrity, account authentication, security and privacy preferences, internal site usage and maintenance data, and to make the site work correctly for browsing and transactions.

gdpr, woocommerce_cart_hash, woocommerce_items_in_cart, _wp_wocommerce_session, sucuri_cloudproxy_uuid_*

Site Customisation

Cookies and similar technologies are used to improve your experience, to do things like:

- remember your login, general, and regional preferences
- personalize content, search, recommendations, and offers

Without these technologies, things like personalised recommendations, your account preferences, or localisation may not work correctly.

wp-settings-*

Personalised Advertising

These technologies are used for things like:

- personalised ads
- to limit how many times you see an ad
- to understand usage via Google Analytics
- to understand how you got to our web properties
- to ensure that we understand the audience and can provide relevant ads

We do this with social media, marketing, and analytics partners (who may have their own information they’ve collected). Saying no will not stop you from seeing our ads, but it may make them less relevant or more repetitive.

_ga, _gid, gat,_gads,_fbp