Irving Penn - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 4, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Penn, Flowers, n.p.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Without knowledge of horticulture, Irving Penn approached his flowers much like any other subject, photographing them in the studio on white backdrops, removed from any reference to the garden in which they were grown. Penn even acknowledged enjoyment in his lack of knowledge stating in the introduction to Flowers, “it has left me free to react with simple pleasure just to form and color, without being diverted by considerations of rarity or tied to the convention that a flower must be photographed at its moment of unblemished, nubile perfection.” The knowledge Penn may have lacked in his subject matter is more than compensated by his mastery in the studio with every detail from fresh dew to the veins on each petal meticulously captured by his lens. Perhaps using the stages of the flower's life as an analogy for the passing seasons and the coming new year, Penn's flowers graced the pages of the holiday issues of American Vogue from 1967-1973.

  • 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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Rose, Colour Wonder, London

Dye transfer print, printed 1990.
22 x 17 5/8 in. (55.9 x 44.8 cm).
Signed, initialed twice, titled, dated in pencil, Vogue copyright credit reproduction limitation, credit, edition and medium stamps on the verso. One from an edition of 35.

$35,000 - 55,000 

Sold for $43,750


4 October 2011
New York