Sale 1120 Lot 65
(American; 1917 - 2009)
Father and Son with Eggs
Platinum-palladium print, BF paper on aluminum
Year of work: 1948
Signed, inscribed, and stamped
On verso: The number 1730, Father and Son with Eggs, platinum palladium print, BF paper on aluminum, print made May 1978, c. 1978 and the Condé Nast Publications. There is also a stamp that says "deacidified."
Irving Penn's images have defined several generations of fashion and portrait photography. Penn, who was born in 1917 in New Jersey, attended the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art (1934-1938) where he studied painting, drawing, graphics, and industrial arts under Alexey Brodovitch. After serving as art director at Saks Fifth Avenue, he spent a year painting and taking photographs in Mexico. He returned to work at Vogue where he posed subjects against a simple white or grey background. This blend of elegance and minimalism remained consistent whether he was composing a Modernist still life, photographing fashion, or capturing ethnographic portraits from around the world.
For traveling to New Guinea and other locations to photograph indigenous people, Penn created a portable studio with a skylight deployed facing north with impressive results. These pictures had the same feel as his portraits of celebrities; fully adorned, naturally lighted, yet placed before the neutral backdrop, his tribal subjects appear as strangely defined models for a 19-century ethnographic investigation. Penn experimented with many printing techniques, including prints made on aluminum sheets coated with a platinum emulsion, rendering the image with warmth and maturity.
In 1984, a retrospective was organized by John Szarkowski at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York. From 1987 Penn's work was exhibited regularly at the Pace-MacGill Gallery in New York. In 1996 Penn presented archives and prints to the Chicago Art Institute. His work is held in collections including the Metropolitan Museum and MoMA, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, the Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna in Turin, the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
11.8" x 11.4"
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