Irving Penn - Important Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Anthony Terrana New York Monday, April 1, 2013 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Acquired directly from the artist
    Robert Klein Gallery, Boston

  • Exhibited

    Fashion Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 18 November 2006 – 25 March 2007

  • Literature

    Angeletti and Oliva, In Vogue, p. 146
    Art Institute of Chicago, Irving Penn: A Career in Photography, pl. 44
    Centre National de la Photographie, Vanites, p. 45
    Gee, Photography of the Fifties: An American Perspective, p. 154
    Hall-Duncan, The History of Fashion Photography, p. 153
    High Museum of Art, Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection, p. 190
    Szarkowski, Irving Penn, pl. 49
    American Vogue, April 1950, pp. 86-87

  • Catalogue Essay

    The trailblazing career of legendary photographer Irving Penn is studded with a number of crowning achievements, of which Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn),
    is a prime example. By the time the image was taken in 1950, Penn had cemented his reputation as a leader in the feld of fashion photography at Vogue, which Penn
    joined in 1943. During his early days at the magazine under the guidance of Alexander Liberman, Penn’s responsibilities were confned to creating the sketches for the
    covers. However, following the favorable reception for the first Vogue cover that he had been assigned to photograph, Penn was subsequently trusted with additional
    editorial work, ultimately developing an innovative style, marked for its refreshing minimalism, timeless beauty and seamless elegance. Interestingly, Penn has credited
    his lack of formal training in photography or savoir-faire in styling to have led him to adopt a clean and understated approach.

    Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), published in the April 1950 issue, was featured prominently as the opening image in the fashion editorial, The Black and White Idea. In it, Fonssagrives is clad in a diamond-patterned dress by Jerry Parnis for Everlast. She is seen leisurely nestled in a chaise, a slim mink lei adorning her torso,
    her coiffure tucked under a Lily Daché hat, her arms wrapped by opera-length gloves by Beautydoe. The triangular composition bestows her with a commanding, imperial
    look, which is further accentuated by her confident gaze and the cigarette—then a symbol of modern times—wedged between her fngers. This stands in strong contrast to
    the typical depictions of models at the time— demure, coy, unassuming. Under Penn’s directorship, Fonssagrives is not merely selling the dress, but the entire narrative
    that Penn meticulously constructed around her—a new, empowered woman, confidently occupying her surrounding, enjoying the finer guilty pleasures in life. Over half a
    century later, Penn’s Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), has retained its iconic status as an image of indisputable strength and seductive beauty.

    Another print of this image is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Artist Biography

    Irving Penn

    American • 1917 - 2009

    Arresting portraits, exquisite flowers, luscious food and glamorous models populate Irving Penn's meticulously rendered, masterful prints. Penn employed the elegant simplicity of a gray or white backdrop to pose his subjects, be it a model in the latest Parisian fashion, a famous subject or veiled women in Morocco.

    Irving Penn's distinct aesthetic transformed twentieth-century elegance and style, with each brilliant composition beautifully articulating his subjects. Working across several photographic mediums, Penn was a master printmaker. Regardless of the subject, each and every piece is rendered with supreme beauty. 

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Harlequin Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn)

Platinum palladium print, printed 1979.
19 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (50.5 x 50.5 cm)
Signed, titled, numbered 1/30 in pencil and Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation stamp on the reverse of the aluminum flush-mount.

$300,000 - 500,000 

Sold for $290,500

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs
[email protected]
+ 1 212 940 1245

Important Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Anthony Terrana

2 & 3 April 2013
New York