PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN'S `CENTENNIAL' RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET

PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN’S `CENTENNIAL’ RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET

Irving Penn was known predominantly as one of the world’s most renowned fashion photographers, but, with the new exhibition `Irving Penn: Centennial’ now staged at the MET in New York City, another side of Penn’s talent is exposed. In the mammoth exhibition of over 200 photographs, covering 70 years of this artist dynamic career with the camera, revealed Penn’s photography outside of the fashion arena. In ten themed galleries, Penn’s photographic mastery captures a wide range of subjects which he photographed with the style and elegance, that he would of a supermodel.
GALLERY HIGHLIGHTS

 

His genius span from a web of images. Of course, there are the wonderful fashion images, the exciting Vogue covers and elegant layouts that Diana Vreeland, legendary Vogue Editor-in-Chief spearheaded. Penn photographed Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, the reported first `supermodel’ who was also his muse and wife, several of them wearing the creations of legendary designer Balenciaga. Moving from the fashion galleries, Penn introduces viewers to the other side of his work: the indigenous people of Cuzco, Peru wearing their traditional garments, coal miners in the raw carrying the tools of their trade, make up a gallery under the theme of `Small Trades.’ His unique work exposing the people of Morocco, as well as tribesmen and women of Benin, Africa, shows Penn’s versatility. A gallery of his exotic nudes and a gallery of striking images of cigarettes in memory of his friend who died of lunch cancer are among some of the exhibition highlights.

 

PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN'S `CENTENNIAL' RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET
IMAGES SHOT WITH STYLE & ELEGANCE
Penn chronicled his subjects with a wider lens, but but shot them all like he did with a fashion eye, consisting of a mimimal background with diffused lighting. “He photographed the tribesmen of Africa like they were supermodels,” remarked a noted fashion editor who was present at the private media preview last week. Penn’s dramatic black and white portraits of luminaries like; Truman Capote, Audrey Hepburn, Ingmar Bergman, Picasso and Issey Miyake hang alongside stunning images of the late first Black supermodel Naomi Sims, Marissa Berrinson and a 1966 photograph of Brigitta Klercker modeling a swimsuit that could have been pulled off the New York runway for Spring/Summer 2017.

 

PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN'S `CENTENNIAL' RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET
CURATORS WEIGH IN
“He was a true master who knew what he wanted in a challenging, beautiful place,” said Co-curator Jeff Rosenheim during his remarks at the media preview. “We knew him as a great image maker. At this time of digital imagery, this is photography at it’s finest imagery. So he can understand what he can do with his camera, he made his own prints, they are extraordinarly tactile. We focused on ten sections of his work, see it and understand it in this 100th anniversary of his work.”

 

PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN'S `CENTENNIAL' RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET
ON A PERSONAL NOTE
Co-curator Maria Morris Hambourg added that Penn was intense and had a dry sense of humor. “He rarely gave interviews, he preferred to stay out of the limelight, he was something of a hunter, searching for something more deeper….he was clear of who he was and did not stand on ceremony. He never pulled rank, he communicated naturally and gently, but was very demanding of his artists.” Maria related a story where Penn was supposed to shoot breaking glass, not only did he demand crystal, but Baccarat crystal, so they would break perfectly in his photographs.

 

PHOTOGRAPGER IRVING PENN'S `CENTENNIAL' RETROSPECTIVE OPENS AT THE MET
TOUR
`Irving Penn: Centennial’ will be at The MET through October 30th 2017, before going on an international tour: Paris, France opening in September; Berlin, Germany next fall and Brazil in the summer of 2018.

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