Irving Penn - Photographs New York Wednesday, October 11, 2023 | Phillips

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  • “I can get obsessed by anything if I look at it long enough. That’s the curse of being a photographer.”
    —Irving Penn


    One of the principal fashion photographers of our age, Irving Penn spent his career documenting the worlds of couture and beauty in his own highly innovative and elegant style. Penn mastered the existing vocabulary of fashion photography early on and then expanded upon it to create a new ideal, in many instances redefining what constituted beauty in a photograph. While color became an aspect of fashion photography once three-color printing was practicable for magazines, no photographer exploited the potential of color with the same skill and acumen as Penn. In Four Lipsticks (New York) Penn uses color to imbue this still-life with a luxurious seductiveness, playfully but effectively fetishizing each object.

    • Provenance

      Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
      Private European Collection

    • 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


Four Lipsticks (New York)

Pigment print, printed 2006.
27 7/8 x 21 in. (70.8 x 53.3 cm)
Signed, initialed twice, titled, dated, and annotated in ink, credit, Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps on the reverse of the flush-mount. One from an edition of 7.

Full Cataloguing

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $48,260

Contact Specialist

Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs


Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Chairwoman, Americas


New York Auction 11 October 2023