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

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  • Provenance

    Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York
    Christie's, New York, 5 April 2013, lot 264

  • Literature

    Vogue, July 2001, pp. 160-161
    Posnick, Stoppers: Photographs from My Life at Vogue, pp. 220-221

  • Catalogue Essay

    “Mascara is not small business and brushes sell mascara. Companies spend millions of dollars developing breakthrough technology, and we were reporting on the latest ‘Mascara War’ between two of the giants. The model’s eyes were closed for two hours while Penn photographed every possible variation of the dueling brushes. He had a picture that wasn’t especially exciting or memorable, but there was nothing that he hadn’t tired. Still standing behind his 6 x 8 cm camera, he said, ‘Thank you. We’re all finished.’ Our model opened her eyes, and I saw that they were completely bloodshot. Penn said, ‘Don’t move.’ He did just two or three more exposures. Here was the shock that was missing. Then we were finished.” —Phyllis Posnick, Executive Fashion Editor, Vogue

    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.

    For additional works by Irving Penn, see lots 241, 298, 311-313, 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. 

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Mascara Wars, New York

April 17, 2001
Fujicolor Crystal Archive print.
15 3/4 x 24 in. (40 x 61 cm)
Signed, titled, dated twice and initialed twice in pencil, credit, Condé Nast copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps on the reverse of the flush-mount. One from an edition of 15.

$30,000 - 50,000 

Sold for $93,750

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