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Still Life with Food, New York, 1947/printed 1978
Street Photographer (A), New York, 1951/printed 1976
Plumber (A), New York, 1951/printed 1972
Charwoman, London, 1950/printed 1976
Lorry Washers, London, 1950/printed 1976
Frederick Kiesler and William de Kooning, New York, 1960/printed 1977
Jean Cocteau, Paris, 1948/printed 1968
Cecil Beaton, 1950/printed 1977
Woody Allen as Chaplin, 1972/printed 1978
David Smith, 1964/printed 1979
Picasso (A), 1957/printed 1978
Truman Capote, New York, 1965/printed 1976
W. Somerset Maugham, Cap Ferrat, France, 1962/printed 1977
Barnett Newman, New York, 1966/printed 1968
Nubile Young Beauty of Diamaré (Cameroon), 1969/printed 1980
3 Dahomey Girls (1), 1967/printed 1969

Press Release

Joseph Bellows Gallery is pleased to present an extraordinary collection of platinum prints by the celebrated photographer Irving Penn, whose career retrospective is currently on view at the de Young Museum in San Francisco. This selection of photographs, assembled by one collector nearly fifty years ago and offered here for the first time, acknowledges Irving Penn’s genius as one of the 20th century’s preeminent photographers.

Irving Penn was born in 1917 in Plainfield, New Jersey. In 1934 he enrolled at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art where he studied design with Alexey Brodovitch.  In 1938 he began a career in New York as a graphic artist.  His first color photograph of a still life arrangement became a cover for Vogue magazine, leading to 164 additional Vogue covers throughout his illustrious career.  He was a recognized master of portraiture, fashion, and the still life, bridging the gap between commercial, editorial and fine art work. 

In the 1960s Penn started exploring 19th century printing techniques.  By the following decade, Penn had perfected a sophisticated and complex system for printing in platinum and palladium.

Monographs on Penn's work include: Moments Preserved (1960); Worlds in a Small Room (1974); Inventive Paris Clothes (1977); Flowers (1980); Passage (1991); Still Life (2001); Earthly Bodies: Irving Penn's Nudes 1949-50 (2002); A Notebook at Random (2004); Irving Penn: Platinum Prints (2005); Irving Penn Small Trades (2099); Irving Penn: Centennial (2017/2024).

His photographs have been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including a 1984 retrospective exhibition organized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which traveled to museums in twelve countries. In 2017 a retrospective exhibition of the photographer's work was held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in celebration of the centennial of the artist's birth.

All images ©The Irving Penn Foundation