Irving Penn - Photographs Evening & Day New York Wednesday, October 5, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Hamburg Kennedy Photographs, New York

  • Literature

    Harmony, Irving Penn: Flowers, p. 14

  • Catalogue Essay

    When Irving Penn began photographing flowers in the 1960s, he approached them as he did his most famous fashion images of the time- photographing them in the studio, isolated against white backdrops and, further, removed from any reference to the garden in which they were grown. But his familiar approach belied a blissful unfamiliarity with the subject. Indeed, as he notes in his introduction to Flowers, Penn found liberty in working with a subject that was so foreign to him: “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 the billowing edges of the poppy to the intricate rings of its stamen 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. 

    View More Works


Poppy: Burgundy, New York

Pigment print, printed 2006.
20 x 17 in. (50.8 x 43.2 cm)
Signed, initialed, titled, dated in ink, Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation, credit and edition stamps on the reverse of the flush-mount. One from an edition of 20.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $68,750

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Photographs Evening & Day

New York 5 & 6 October 2016