Thursday, September 28, 2017


2017 marks the centenary of the birth of Irving Penn (1917-2009), one of the greatest photographers of the20th century.
This exhibition, organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and The Réunion des musées nationaux– Grand Palais, in collaboration with The Irving Penn Foundation,is the first major retrospective of the American artist’s work in France since his death.
 Celebrated for more than sixty years of masterly work at Vogue magazine, Irving Penn was a superb photographer of style, but his attention to fashion was merely one aspect of his lifelong study of face and figure, attitude and demeanor, adornment and artifact. As his penetrating portraits reveal, Penn had few equals as an observer of human expression. He also had an acute graphic intelligence and a sculptor’s sensitivity to volumes in light. These talents came to the fore in his studies of the nude and in still life, a genre he favored throughout his career. The Irving Penn exhibition offers a comprehensive vision of the range of genres he worked in: fashion, still life, portraits, nudes, beauty, cigarettes and debris. Penn acquired his first Rolleiflex in 1938 while working as an assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. Penn’s earliest photographs are studies of nineteenth-century shopfronts, hand-lettered advertisements, and street signs in Philadelphia and New York. With their visual clarity and vernacular content, these pictures reflect the subject matter of Depression-era, documentary- style photography. After serving in the war, in 1945 Penn returned to his work at Vogue. To infuse the magazine with culture and boost his associate’s budding career, art director Alexander Liberman asked Penn to make a series of portraits of personalities. Once Penn’s prowess in portraiture was established, Alexander Liberman groomed him for fashion. “Alex thought I was a bit of a street savage,” Penn recalled. He was instructed to buy an evening jacket and to attend “the collections,” the highly anticipated showings of Parisian couture. However, the crush of competing photographers and excited editors at these events overwhelmed Penn. He preferred to work away from the fray, and, if possible, in a daylight studio. For the 1950 collections, therefore, a Paris studio was found, as well as a theatrical curtain that served as a neutral backdrop.
-Until January 29th, 2018
Girl with Tobacco in Tongue
(Mary Jane Russel, 1951)

The Twelve Most Photographed Models, 1947

Glove and Shoe, 1947

Balenciaga Sleeve
(Regina Derise, 1950)

Balenciaga Mantle Coat
(Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 1950)

Black and Whote Fashion with Handbag, 1950

Dior Dress, 1949

Large Sleeve (Sunny Harnett, 1951)

Woman with Roses, 1950

Woman in Chicken Hat, 1949

Café in Lima, 1948

Balenciaga Rose Dress, 1967

Issey Miyake Staircase Dress, 1994

Marisa Berenson 
Nicole Kidman in Chanel

Black Hat and White Face
(Carolyn Murphy, 1997)

Lacroix Lace Dress
Shalom Harlow, 1995)

Christian Lacroix Duchesse Satin Dress, 1995

Caroline Trentini in Chanel Haute Couture, 2007

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