San Diego, CA
Irving Penn (1917–2009), known for his iconic fashion, portrait, and still life images that appeared in Vogue magazine, ranks as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly 20 years, will celebrate his legacy as a modern master and reveal the full expressive range of his work.
Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. On display will be 146 photographs from the museum’s permanent collection, including the debut of 100 photographs recently donated to the museum by The Irving Penn Foundation. The exhibition presents several previously unseen or never exhibited photographs. Also on view for the first time will be Super 8 mm films of Penn in Morocco, made by his wife, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, that add a vivid picture of the artist at work.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.
Whether or not you go, Irving Penn: Centennial is the definitive book on the work of a virtuosic and revered American photographer. Irving Penn (1917–2009) was among the most esteemed and influential photographers of the 20th century. Over the course of a nearly seventy-year career, he mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, and detail. This indispensable book 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.