Irving Penn | 1917-2009
22 Images

Photos: Irving Penn | 1917-2009

Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Irving Penn’s first attempt at fashion photography was a still life with a scarf, gloves and leather bag. It appeared on the cover of Vogue magazine on Oct. 1, 1943. He went on to shoot more than 150 covers for Vogue. (©1943 Irving Penn / Conde Nast Archive, Conde Nast Publications)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn, seen in a self-portrait in 1943, was one of the first commercial photographers to cross the chasm that separated commercial and art photography. His pictures revealed a taste for stark simplicity whether he was shooting celebrity portraits, fashion, still life or remote places of the world. (©1943 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn took this portrait of surrealist painter Salvador Dalí in New York in 1947. What brought life to Penn’s portraits came from the people he photographed. Subtly, he captured human evanescence. (©1947 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn photographed the American Ballet Theatre in New York in 1947. He revealed in his work a taste for stark simplicity whether he was shooting celebrity portraits, fashion, still life or remote places of the world. (©1947 Irving Penn / Photographic Arts Council)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn’s 1948 photograph of two impoverished Peruvian youngsters, titled “Cuzco Children,” sold for $529,000 in 2008, setting a world auction record. It was one of his “platinum-palladium” prints, a meticulous and costly process that involves repeated printings of a negative on one piece of paper to create an extraordinary depth and richness. (©1948 Irving Penn / Christie’s)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn photographed artist Georgia O’Keeffe in New York in 1948. He used the same technique no matter what he photographed -- isolating his subject, allowing for scarcely a prop and building a work of graphic perfection through his printing process. Critics considered the results to be icons, not just images, each one greater than the person or object in the frame. (©1948 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Novelist and playwright Truman Capote is photographed in 1948. Penn shot what he wanted, whether famous writers and artists, butchers and bakers, African chiefs, European craftsmen or Hells Angels. (©1948 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Gilbert Adrian, a fashion designer whose most famous theatrical costumes were for “The Wizard of Oz” and other MGM films in the 1930s and ‘40s, is photographed in 1948. (©1948 Irving Penn / Los Angeles County Museum of Art)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramist Joan Miró and his daughter, Dolores, are photographed in 1948. Penn experimented with vintage and high-tech cameras, unusual lenses and antique printing techniques. He designed some of his own equipment to gain greater control over light on his subjects. (©1948 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn’s “Girl Behind Glass” was photographed in New York in 1949. In his early work, he used a few props -- a martini glass, a teapot or a bar stool, each one an elegant classic. Later he eliminated props and set his models against white or stormy gray backgrounds. (©1949 Irving Penn / Photographic Arts Council)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
“Woman with Roses on Her Arm” is a 1950 photograph of Penn’s wife, fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives, who appeared in many of his magazine photos during that decade. (Irving Penn / Christie’s)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn was a purist who mistrusted perfect beauty, which brought an engaging tension to his fashion photographs as well as his still lifes and portraits. One of his best-known shots for Vogue in the 1950s shows an impeccably dressed model glancing sideways through a veil that covers her face, as if she wasn’t ready for her close-up. Lavish textures, the rich shadow and light became Penn’s trademark. (©1950 Irving Penn / Conde Nast Archive, Conde Nast Publications)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Poet, playwright and literary critic T.S. Eliot is photographed in London in 1950. Penn brought “poetry to immobility,” as one admiring critic, Rosamond Bernier, said of his style. (©1950 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn took this portrait of Spanish painter and sculptor Pablo Picasso in France in 1957. (Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn photographed theater designer, artist and architect Frederick Kiesler, left, with abstract expressionist artist Willem de Kooning in New York in 1960. (©1960 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn, seen in the 1960s, had a preference for simplicity in his photographs. (© Bert Stern / Irving Penn Studio Inc.)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn, whose visual style was defined by a “less is more” aesthetic, is seen during a photo shoot with a New Guinea mud man and child. Penn traveled widely, carrying his own studio to the ends of the earth. (© Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn / Irving Penn Studio Inc.)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn took this photograph, titled “Rock Groups,” in San Francisco in 1967. He said his constant change of subjects fed his imagination. Penn once recalled a perfect week in which he went from photographing Italian sculptor Alberto Giacometti to French butchers to a session with models wearing French couture fashion, all in the same studio. (©1967 Irving Penn / Irving Penn Studio Inc.)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Penn took this photograph of two Moroccan women, titled “Guedras in the Wind,” in 1971. It was a platinum-palladium print, flush-mounted on aluminum. (©1971 Irving Penn / Christie’s)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
In the late 1960s, Penn started taking photographs of crushed cigarette butts the way he often shot designer dresses — close up, with a graphic precision. (© Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
Jasper Johns, an American contemporary artist who works primarily in painting and printmaking, is photographed in New York in 2006. (©2006 Irving Penn)
Irving Penn | 1917-2009
A member of Christie’s auction house in London holds a Penn photograph of British model Kate Moss. Penn first exhibited his series of Rubenesque nudes in 1980 as “Earthly Bodies” at the Marlborough Gallery in New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City featured them again in 2002. (Andy Rain / European Pressphoto Agency)
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