By Dana Tyler

ROSLYN HARBOR, NY (CBS 2) — Long Island’s North Shore is home to a museum that brings the wilderness and world-class art together in one place. 

You can enjoy a long walk as well as see a gallery exhibition like this summer’s Richard Avedon photography show at the Nassau County Museum of Art.

The sprawling green lawns and woodlands were owned by poet and preservationist William Cullen Bryant in the mid-1800’s. A century later, the Georgian-style mansion was home to the nature-loving Frick family. 

A perfect setting to celebrate nature and culture, the estate became the Nassau County Museum of Art in 1969.

“It’s very prestigious place to show,” said museum director Karl Willers who says here, you’ll find a unique museum experience. “We have both beautiful galleries inside the Ogden mansion as well as 144-acre sculpture park and wilderness reserve. It’s a beautiful spot for people to spend the afternoon.”

This summer’s main gallery exhibition features more than 50 photographs by renowned photographer Richard Avedon. Born in 1923, the Bronx native is credited with redefining portraiture.

“Richard Avendon’s one of the most influential photographers of the late 20th century,” said Willers. “He brought to fashion photography and commercial photography a certain ease and  elegance not seen before.”

One of Avedon’s most famous photos has a Dior-draped Dovema surrounded by elephants in 1955.

“Avedon would place models in unique circumstances,” said Willers.

Avedon was a staff photographer with Harper’s Bazzar and later with Vogue magazine.  A master of black and white, he could also capture up-close, spontaneous, unexpected images from well-trained subjects including the duke and dutchess of Windsor.

Willers says Avedon was not satisfied with the look he was getting and the story goes during the photo session, Avedon remembered they were dog lovers. 

“He mentioned he was not himself today because his taxi cab driver said he had hit a dog. The Windsors made a face as if you just did how sad and that’s the portrait they got,” said Willers. 

Revealing portraits of the well-known, willing to be natural or even vulnerable subjects just for the chance to be photographed by Richard Avedon.  The full face or the contrast in fashion, the full body. 

“This is a particular series of photographs of fashion like his portraiture he’s isolated  the fashion and the model against a very blank background, but instead injected a huge sense of movement, a swirling sense of the way clothes and bodies move,” said Willers.

Avdedon once called photography a double-sided mirror, reflecting his subjects and himself. 

The final gallery features photos from his 1980’s series, “In the American West” and includes a self-portrait.

Avedon died at age 81 in 2004.  

The exhibit “Richard Avedon: Photographer of Influence” is the Nassau County Museum of Art through September 4. For more information, visit

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