Irving Penn - Photographs New York Tuesday, October 3, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Chicago

  • Literature

    'Visages et métiers de Paris,' French Vogue, June 1951
    Heckert and Lacoste, Irving Penn: Small Trades, pl. 167
    Penn, Moments Preserved, p. 175
    Penn, Passage: A Work Record, p. 89
    Szarkowski, Irving Penn, pl. 88

  • Catalogue Essay

    A true legend, Irving Penn transformed twentieth-century studio photography. Working across numerous photographic processes, diverse cultures, and distinctive subjects, each and every photograph by Penn is rendered with elegant simplicity and supreme beauty. We are delighted this season to offer an exciting selection of works by Irving Penn that pay homage to his brilliance, range, and unwavering vision. Featuring Small Trades, Vogue editorials, still-lifes, and arresting portraits, this selection spans just over 50 years of Penn’s career and includes photographs taken in New York, Paris, Cannes, Morocco, and New Guinea. Masterfully employing several photographic mediums throughout his lifetime, Penn was an exquisite printmaker, a fact reflected in the diversity of mediums on offer here, including; platinum palladium, gelatin silver, dye destruction, and Fujicolor Crystal Archive.

    The present lot, Butchers, Paris, 1950 comes from Penn’s iconic Small Trades series, a collection of striking studio portraits taken in Paris, London, and New York featuring tradespeople in their working clothes. According to Penn, Alexander Liberman, the art director at Vogue who first hired Penn in 1943, “inspired me with the idea of doing a series of pictures of the small trades in the tradition of the ‘Petits Métiers’ of Paris past… A steady stream of workmen, street vendors, and fringe Parisians climbed the six flights to the studio, where they waited their turn to pose between pictures of couture and portrait sittings of the distinguished.” Through his sensitive eye and exquisite execution, Penn’s socially and economically disparate subjects are rendered as aesthetic equals in front of the artist’s signature backdrop.

    For additional works by Irving Penn, see lots 298, 311-314, 317, 350, and 351.

  • 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


Butchers, Paris

Platinum palladium print, printed 1976.
16 1/4 x 12 1/2 in. (41.3 x 31.8 cm)
Signed, titled 'Bouchers', dated, initialed, numbered 15/33 and annotated in pencil, Condé Nast copyright credit and edition stamps on the verso.

$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $56,250

Contact Specialist
Sarah Krueger
Head of Department, Photographs

Vanessa Hallett
Worldwide Head of Photographs and Deputy Chairman, Americas

General Enquiries:
+1 212 940 1245


New York 3 October 2017