Getty gets Penn’s ‘Trade’ masters
The latest addition to the J. Paul Getty Museum’s vast collection of photographs is the master set of Irving Penn’s largest body of work, “The Small Trades.”
Initially produced in 1950-51 and refined over subsequent decades, the portfolio of 252 full-length portraits depicts skilled tradespeople dressed for work and equipped with their tools. Each subject is portrayed like a statue, standing in the center of a plain background in natural light.
Penn, an American who became known as a fashion and advertising photographer, shot the first pictures as an assignment from Vogue magazine in Paris. Intrigued with the results, he continued “The Small Trades” as a personal project in London and New York.
The Getty, which purchased the photographs directly from the artist, is planning to publish a book on the Penn works and present an exhibition, said to be the first to show the complete set of images, in September 2009.
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