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  • Literature

    The J. Paul Getty Museum, Irving Penn: Small Trades, pl. 31
    Knopf/Callaway, Irving Penn: Passage, p. 115
    Szarkowski, Irving Penn, pl. 91

  • Catalogue Essay

    Throughout his career legendary photographer Irving Penn turned his lens to a wide variety of subjects, from still-life to fashion, cosmetics, celebrities, and as seen in the current lot, everyday people. However, no matter the subject, Penn was able to present each with his unmistakable grace and elegance, turning the mundane into the extraordinary and the commonplace to the rarified. In the Small Trades series, which lasted from 1950-1951 and stretched over London, New York and Paris, Penn asked everyday tradesmen to appear at his studio. In lieu of direction, Penn asked his subjects to occupy the space as they wished, allowing their personalities to slowly emerge under his patient eye. In Street Photographer, 1951, Penn’s subject is seen adjusting his own camera lens in one hand while smoking with the other. Despite being outside his usual milieu, he still appears relaxed and self-assured. As such, he is not performing his role as a photographer but revealing his personality as a professional. By doing so the street photographer reflects Penn’s genius in encouraging his subjects to candidly expose their character.

  • 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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Street Photographer, New York

Platinum palladium print, printed 1976.
19 3/8 x 15 in. (49.2 x 38.1 cm)
Signed, titled, dated, numbered 11/30, initialed in pencil, Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps on the verso.

$50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for $56,250

Contact Specialist
Vanessa Kramer Hallett
Worldwide Head, Photographs
[email protected]

Shlomi Rabi
Head of Sale, New York
[email protected]

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245


New York Auction 1 April 10am & 2pm