Image Credit: Irving Penn, Bee, New York, 1995, Copyright © The Irving Penn Foundation
Exhibition Opening October 23rd
Irving Penn (1917–2009), known for his iconic fashion, portrait and still life images that appeared in Vogue magazine, ranks as one of the foremost photographers of the 20th century. Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, the first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly 20 years, celebrates his legacy as a modern master and shows the full expressive range of his work. The exhibition features work from all stages of Penn’s career and presents a number of previously unseen or never exhibited photographs. Penn’s pictures reveal a modernist instinct for stark simplicity whether he was photographing celebrities, fashion models, still lifes or people in remote places of the world.
Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is drawn entirely from the extensive holdings of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The exhibition includes 146 photographs from the museum’s permanent collection, including the debut of 100 photographs recently donated to the museum by The Irving Penn Foundation. Rare street photographs from the late 1930s and 1940s, most of which are unpublished; images of post-war Europe; iconic portraits of figures such as Truman Capote, Salvador Dali and Leontyne Price; color photographs made for magazine editorials and commercial advertising; self-portraits; private studio images; and some of Penn’s most recognizable fashion and still life photographs will be on display. All the prints were made during the artist’s lifetime and personally approved by him. Also on view for the first time will be Super 8 mm films of Penn in Morocco, made by his wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn.
Merry Foresta is the guest curator; she was the museum’s curator of photography from 1983 to 1999. Following its presentation in Washington, D.C., Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty will travel to several cities across the United States