New York City, NY
The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist’s birth. Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Irving Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, and detail. Irving Penn: Centennial will be the most comprehensive exhibition to date of the work of the great American photographer.
The exhibition follows the 2015 announcement of the landmark promised gift from The Irving Penn Foundation to The Met of more than 150 photographs by Penn, representing every period of the artist’s dynamic career with the camera. The gift will form the core of the exhibition, which will feature more than 200 photographs by Penn, including iconic fashion studies of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, the artist's wife; exquisite still-lifes; Quechua children in Cuzco, Peru; portraits of urban laborers; female nudes; tribesmen in New Guinea; and color flower studies. The artist's beloved portraits of cultural figures from Truman Capote, Picasso, and Colette to Ingmar Bergman and Issey Miyake will also be featured. Rounding out the exhibition will be photographs by Penn that entered The Met collection prior to the promised gift.
Exhibition overview from museum website
Whether you go or not, the exhibition catalog, Irving Penn: Centennial , features one of the largest selections of Penn’s photographs ever compiled, including famous and beloved images as well as works that have never been published. Celebrating the centennial of Penn’s birth, this lavish volume spans the entirety of his groundbreaking career. An enlightening introduction situates his work in the context of the various artistic, social, and political environments and events that affected the content of his photographs. Lively essays acquaint readers with Penn’s primary subjects and campaigns, including early documentary scenes and imagery; portraits; fashion; female nudes; peoples of Peru, Dahomey (Benin), New Guinea, and Morocco; still lifes; and much more. Irving Penn: Centennial is essential for any fan of this artist’s work or the history of 20th-century photography.