Irving Penn - Rochas Mermaid Dress

Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009). Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950. Platinum-palladium print, 1980. © Condé Nast Publications, Inc. | Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

Metropolitan Museum hosts ‘Irving Penn: Centennial’

The Metropolitan Museum of Art organizes a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth. April 24–July 30, 2017.

Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Irving Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, and detail. Opening April 24, 2017, Irving Penn: Centennial is the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the work of the great American photographer.

The exhibition follows the 2015 announcement of the landmark promised gift from The Irving Penn Foundation to The Met of more than 150 photographs by Penn, representing every period of the artist’s dynamic career with the camera. The gift will form the core of the exhibition, which features more than 200 photographs by Penn, including iconic fashion studies of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, the artist's wife; exquisite still-lifes; Quechua children in Cuzco, Peru; portraits of urban laborers; female nudes; tribesmen in New Guinea; and color flower studies. The artist's beloved portraits of cultural figures from Truman Capote, Picasso, and Colette to Ingmar Bergman and Issey Miyake are also featured. Rounding out the exhibition will be photographs by Penn that entered The Met collection prior to the promised gift.

The Met’s collection of works by Irving Penn currently consists of some 145 photographs. These include a suite of 65 nude studies from 1949–50 donated by the artist in 2002 and featured that same year in The Met’s exhibition “Earthly Bodies: Irving Penn’s Nudes, 1949-50” and its publication. In 2014, with funds from an anonymous benefactor, the Museum acquired from The Irving Penn Foundation an extraordinary group of 64 platinum prints from the artist's celebrated “Small Trades” series from 1950–51 depicting laborers in Paris, London, and New York with the tools of their trades. The portraits of workers (as well as the nudes and other photographs in the Museum's collection) are a key component of the centennial exhibition.

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