Photography

Penn, Irving (1917 - 2009)

Born in New York, Irving Penn - the director Arthur Penn’s elder brother - works in the advertising world when he decides, in 1942 to settle in Mexico to dedicate himself to painting. Returning to New York a year later, he collaborates with Alexander Liberman at Vogue and soon takes on photography to create the ideal covers he dreams of. Most of the American photographer’s work resides in contrast: it is inventive despite its apparent simplicity, beautiful even when it represents the ugly and dignified as it depicts modest individuals. Mostly in black and white, Irving Penn’s images emphasized directness and refused artificial lights and active outdoors, always to be taken in front of a signature grey textile background. At a time when modern fashion photography was eager to represent women running, jumping, laughing out loud, he would prefer the statuesque and static poses in which excelled his wife and muse, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn. However, in his portraits, he enables sensibility to establish itself and captures Alfred Hitchcock’s gigantism, Truman Capote’s despair or Francis Bacon’s folly. The former painter’s hand is visible in the grain of his photographies, the profound blacks and the picturesque lines. Irving Penn loved to describe his images as ‘beatitudes’ and one can only remark how a certain form of spirituality exudes from his serene sitters.
 

Irving Penn, Doug, Hells Angels (San Francisco), 1967. Appeared in Look magazine, January, 1968 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Doug, Hells Angels (San Francisco), 1967. Appeared in Look magazine, January, 1968 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Hells Angels (San Francisco), 1967. Appeared in Look magazine, January of 1968 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Hells Angels (San Francisco), 1967. Appeared in Look magazine, January of 1968 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Alfred Hitchcock © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Alfred Hitchcock © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Dorian Leigh and Maurice Tillet, 1945 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Dorian Leigh and Maurice Tillet, 1945 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, France, 1957 for Vogue © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, France, 1957 for Vogue © The Irving Penn Foundation
The photographer Irving Penn © The Irving Penn Foundation
The photographer Irving Penn © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Mies van der Rohe © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Mies van der Rohe © The Irving Penn Foundation
The photographer Irving Penn © The Irving Penn Foundation
The photographer Irving Penn © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Richard Avedon for Vogue, August 23, 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Richard Avedon for Vogue, August 23, 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Leonard Bernstein, Vogue New York, March 19, 1947 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Leonard Bernstein, Vogue New York, March 19, 1947 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue Luggage, New York, March 24, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue Luggage, New York, March 24, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, January 1, 1991 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, January 1, 1991 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Gisele Bündchen, Vogue, April 2006 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Gisele Bündchen, Vogue, April 2006 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, Vogue, June 1, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, Vogue, June 1, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Jean Patchett, New York, 1949 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, April 15, 1971 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, April 15, 1971 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Hermann Landshoff, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Hermann Landshoff, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Cuzco Children, Perù 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Cuzco Children, Perù 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Isabella Rossellini for Vogue, June 1997 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Isabella Rossellini for Vogue, June 1997 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons, March 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garçons, March 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, June 1, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Vogue, June 1, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Martin Scorsese, Vogue, October 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Martin Scorsese, Vogue, October 1993 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Woody Allen, Vogue, December 1972 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Woody Allen, Vogue, December 1972 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Anjelica Huston, Vogue, November 1, 1972 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Anjelica Huston, Vogue, November 1, 1972 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Ballet Society, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Ballet Society, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Balenciaga’s favorite model, Colette, in a suit for Vogue, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Balenciaga’s favorite model, Colette, in a suit for Vogue, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Spanish Shoes, New York, 1963 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Spanish Shoes, New York, 1963 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn Balenciaga Sleeve (Regine), Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn Balenciaga Sleeve (Regine), Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Ingmar Bergman, Stockholm, 1964 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Ingmar Bergman, Stockholm, 1964 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Veruschka, 1966 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Veruschka, 1966 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Six Street Boys, Cuzco, Peru, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Six Street Boys, Cuzco, Peru, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Butchers, Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Butchers, Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Evelyn Tripp in ruffled lace dress by Anna Miller, April 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Evelyn Tripp in ruffled lace dress by Anna Miller, April 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Twelve Beauties, 1947 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Twelve Beauties, 1947 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Rudolf Noureev © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Rudolf Noureev © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Tennessee Williams © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Tennessee Williams © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Francis Bacon © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Francis Bacon © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Scarred Dahomey girl, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Scarred Dahomey girl, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Three Dahomey girl, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Three Dahomey girl, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Dahomey children, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Dahomey children, 1967 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Sword Swallower, New York, 1951 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Sword Swallower, New York, 1951 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Charbonnier, Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Charbonnier, Paris, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, House Painter, London, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, House Painter, London, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Train Coach Waiter (aka Sandwich Vendor), New York, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Train Coach Waiter (aka Sandwich Vendor), New York, 1950 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Messenger from Cartier, New York, 1951 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Messenger from Cartier, New York, 1951 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Eye in Keyhole, New York 1953 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Eye in Keyhole, New York 1953 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Bee on Lips, New York, September 22, 1995 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Bee on Lips, New York, September 22, 1995 © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn, Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1950
Irving Penn, Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1950
Irving Penn, Irina and Valerie, Vogue, July 1995
Irving Penn, Irina and Valerie, Vogue, July 1995
Irving Penn, Kate Moss, New York, April 25, 1996
Irving Penn, Kate Moss, New York, April 25, 1996
Irving Penn, Shalom Harlow for Vogue, 1996
Irving Penn, Shalom Harlow for Vogue, 1996
Irving Penn, circa 1960
Irving Penn, circa 1960
Irving Penn, Model Jean Patchett in black and white hat with veil, scarf and top, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Model Jean Patchett in black and white hat with veil, scarf and top, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Model Dorian Leigh in Balenciaga, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Model Dorian Leigh in Balenciaga, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Model Lisa Fonssagrives wearing petals by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Model Lisa Fonssagrives wearing petals by Cristóbal Balenciaga, Vogue, 1950
Irving Penn, Woman with Roses on Her Arm (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn,), 1950
Irving Penn, Woman with Roses on Her Arm (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn,), 1950
Irving Penn, Vogue, November 1996
Irving Penn, Vogue, November 1996
Irving Penn, Vogue, November 2002
Irving Penn, Vogue, November 2002
Irving Penn, Cult Creams, Vogue US, June 1996
Irving Penn, Cult Creams, Vogue US, June 1996
Irving Penn, Cate Blanchett wore in the movie
Irving Penn, Cate Blanchett wore in the movie "Elizabeth", Vogue, 2007
Irving Penn, Nadja Auermann, 1996
Irving Penn, Nadja Auermann, 1996
Irving Penn, Group portrait of Vogue photographers. Slocum estate, Locust Valley, New York. From left to right: Serge Balkin, Cecil Beaton (not yet Sir), George Platt Lynes, Constantine Joffe, Dorian Leigh (model and Suzy Parker’s sister), Horst P. Horst, John Rawlings, Alexnader Liberman (art director), Erwin Blumenfeld, 1947
Irving Penn, Group portrait of Vogue photographers. Slocum estate, Locust Valley, New York. From left to right: Serge Balkin, Cecil Beaton (not yet Sir), George Platt Lynes, Constantine Joffe, Dorian Leigh (model and Suzy Parker’s sister), Horst P. Horst, John Rawlings, Alexnader Liberman (art director), Erwin Blumenfeld, 1947
Irving Penn, The Tarot Reader (Jean Patchett & Bridget Tichenor), New York, 1949
Irving Penn, The Tarot Reader (Jean Patchett & Bridget Tichenor), New York, 1949
Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives in robe by Jean Dèsses, La Bahia Palace, Marrakech, Morocco, 1951
Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives in robe by Jean Dèsses, La Bahia Palace, Marrakech, Morocco, 1951
Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives in coat by Balenciaga, Vogue, Sept. 1, 1950
Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives in coat by Balenciaga, Vogue, Sept. 1, 1950
Irving Penn, Woman in Chicken Hat- Lisa Fonssagrives, 1948-49
Irving Penn, Woman in Chicken Hat- Lisa Fonssagrives, 1948-49
Irving Penn, Marlene Dietrich, 1947
Irving Penn, Marlene Dietrich, 1947
Irving Penn, Al Pacino, New York, 1995
Irving Penn, Al Pacino, New York, 1995
Irving Penn, Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970
Irving Penn, Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970
Irving Penn, Marlène Dietrich, December 23, 1948
Irving Penn, Marlène Dietrich, December 23, 1948
Irving Penn, Nicolas Ghesquière, Vogue, March 2001
Irving Penn, Nicolas Ghesquière, Vogue, March 2001
Irving Penn, Mascara Wars, New York, 2001
Irving Penn, Mascara Wars, New York, 2001
Irving Penn, Max Ernst & Dorothea Tanning, 1947
Irving Penn, Max Ernst & Dorothea Tanning, 1947
Irving Penn, Miles Davis hand and trumpet, New York, July 1, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis hand and trumpet, New York, July 1, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis Hand 4, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis Hand 4, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis Hand 3, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis Hand 3, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis – Tutu Interior Frontal, 1986
Irving Penn, Miles Davis – Tutu Interior Frontal, 1986
Irving Penn, John F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1960
Irving Penn, John F. Kennedy, Washington, D.C., 1960
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