September 23, 2023


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Frederick Eberstadt, Photographer of Socialites and Artists, Dies at 97

5 min read

Frederick Eberstadt, a fashion and society photographer whose varied do the job encompassed the parlors of Park Avenue as very well as the gritty overall performance spaces of downtown Manhattan throughout New York’s avant-garde period of the 1960s, died on July 29 at his apartment in Manhattan. He was 97.

His demise was verified by his son, the political economist Nicholas Eberstadt.

Mr. Eberstadt experienced began on a career in banking, subsequent in the footsteps of his father, Ferdinand Eberstadt, a lion of Wall Avenue who founded the financial investment lender Eberstadt & Firm and pioneered the enhancement of mutual resources.

But the youthful Mr. Eberstadt left for a stint in television and then obtained a likelihood possibility to operate as an assistant to the photographer Richard Avedon that led him into a 30-year profession behind the lens.

As a style photographer and photojournalist, he shot for Vogue, Women’s Put on Day by day, Town & Nation, The New York Herald Tribune and several other publications. His topics ran the spectrum, culturally, from the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, many years soon after the former King Edward VIII of England abdicated the English throne, to the actors Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper in their “Easy Rider” period as haute hippie Hollywood negative boys.

From his perch substantial in the Manhattan social firmament, he invited readers into the skinny air of Manhattan’s revenue tradition. The journalist Barbara Goldsmith after named his society images “velvet and supersleek.”

But he also ventured downtown to mingle with Andy Warhol and chronicle the city’s explosive underground film and theater scene. In 1965, he merged the underground with the mainstream in a fashion unfold for Existence magazine starring Edie Sedgwick, the star-crossed starlet and Warhol muse, showcasing her fragile splendor in the latest mod fashions and dripping in jewels.

“In the early ‘60s, the cultural scene in New York was divided in between two disconnected worlds,” Jerome Hiler, an experimental filmmaker and Mr. Eberstadt’s former assistant, said in an electronic mail. “The uptown cultural entire world was as distant as could be from the more revolutionary artwork, movie and theater earth down below 14th Avenue. Fred was among the couple who drew attention to the downtown scene.”

He brought an insider’s standpoint to whichever planet he was shooting. In 1962, Mr. Eberstadt served as both equally photographer and subject matter for a spread in Vogue titled “The Logistics of One Fantastic Get together.”

The report examined the exhaustive prep do the job with interior decorators, caterers and hairstylists that went into lavish parties that he and his spouse, Isabel, a daughter of the poet Ogden Nash, threw at their 12-place apartment at 791 Park Avenue, at which uptown elites nibbled on chilly salmon in sauce verte right before shimmying to the sunny appears of a Haitian steel band.

“I generally assumed of Freddie Eberstadt as one of New York’s greats — an individualist, iconoclast, wit and scholar,” Bob Colacello, the writer and a former editor of Andy Warhol’s Interview journal, mentioned by email. “He and Isabel stood out among their Park Avenue social set. They have been hipper, cooler, much more open up minded, curious and adventurous. Eternally younger.”

Frederick Eberstadt was born on July 24, 1926, in Huntington, N.Y., on Very long Island. He was a single of four children of Ferdinand Eberstadt and Mary Van Arsdale (Tongue) Eberstadt, a philanthropist.

His father, who held well known posts with the federal authorities over the several years, including chairman of the Military-Navy Munitions Board all through Environment War II, solid a long shadow. He was “a person whose fashion is pleasantly abrasive, like a rough towel soon after a chilly shower,” his 1969 obituary in The New York Occasions famous.

The youthful Mr. Eberstadt spent his early several years in Paris, in which his father was serving as a husband or wife for the investment lender Dillon, Examine & Corporation, prior to returning to New York, where he lived with his loved ones on Fifth Avenue — and afterwards, the storied River Household on East 52nd Road.

At 14, he was expelled from the Millbrook Faculty for cigarette smoking he finally finished prep university at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Right after a short tenure in the Navy in the vicinity of the close of Planet War II — the war finished in advance of he could be despatched to beat — he attended Princeton University, but he dropped out to vacation the earth.

On returning, he served a transient stint at his father’s investment decision bank. Buying and selling, he mentioned in a 2021 profile released on the web site Medium, “gave me colitis.”

In the mid-1950s, Mr. Eberstadt labored for NBC, in which he got to know Hollywood figures like Gena Rowlands and Dominick Dunne, the producer and long term ideal-offering author of Hollywood crime guides. That run arrived to an finish just after a chance dialogue with Mr. Avedon at a social gathering hosted by the author Harold Brodkey, when he blurted out that he would be pleased to operate as the famed photographer’s assistant if he ever wanted one particular.

“I guess I’d had a couple beverages,” Mr. Eberstadt stated in the Medium job interview. “It was 1 of these issues a person could say but that had no certain indicating. I compensated, and I was certain he compensated, no attention to it.” But Mr. Avedon did. Before very long, Mr. Eberstadt was on his way.

His father was ambivalent at very best about his new program. As Mr. Eberstadt recalled in Medium, when Princess Margaret shocked the British institution by marrying a commoner, the photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, in 1960, Ferdinand Eberstadt mentioned, “That provides your social placement over that of a bootblack.”

Undeterred, Mr. Eberstadt established himself as male about city. By the 1980s, he was composing articles for Vogue on type and manners and talking about his very own eclectic manner instincts.

In a 1986 job interview with The New York Occasions Magazine, he described balancing lavender shirts and checkerboard-pattern socks with small-spending budget staples. But, he additional: “I constantly don Army-Navy retail outlet cords with tweeds and blazers. Pay top rated cost for best high-quality, but when it’s all the similar, be stingy.”

In addition to his son, Mr. Eberstadt, whose primary home in his later on a long time was Critical West, Fla., is survived by his daughter, the author Fernanda Eberstadt 6 grandchildren and one particular excellent-grandchild. His wife died in 2006 soon after 52 yrs of marriage.

In the late 1980s, Mr. Eberstadt’s photography assignments were being drying up. He wrote a novel, which no publishers picked up. He slipped into depression, which experienced troubled him given that his youth.

“I just collapsed,” he informed Medium. “I felt like a overall failure, unquestionably hopeless.”

He ultimately pulled out of his depression, many thanks to medicine and cognitive behavioral treatment. Motivated by his restoration, he determined to go into observe himself, ending his undergraduate do the job at New York College just before acquiring a master’s of social perform diploma from Columbia University in his mid-60s, starting up a new occupation as cognitive therapist as his Social Safety checks commenced to get there.

He would carry on to see clients into his 90s.

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