Irving Penn: circa 1948

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present the exhibition IRVING PENN circa 1948, from March 7 through April 27, 2002.

The years 1947-1949 represent an astonishingly inventive period in Irving Penn’s five-decade long career. This period is notable not only for the artist’s high-level of achievement, but also for the surprising number of images he made that are now solidly lodged in the pantheon of twentieth-century photography. The years circa 1948 are celebrated as well for the wide array of subject matter his work embraced, resulting in unforgettable portraits, nudes, still-lifes, and fashion photographs.

IRVING PENN circa 1948 includes definitive portraits of Alfred Hitchcock, the Duchess of Windsor, Truman Capote, and Georgia O’Keeffe, all made from highly detailed 10 x 8 negatives. Several of Penn’s great, monolithic nudes will also be seen. A survey concentrating solely on Penn’s nudes takes place at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, concurrently with the Fraenkel Gallery exhibition.

Other images range from the classic Girl in Bed on the Telephone (Jean Patchett), and Woman with Roses (Penn’s wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in a Lafaurie dress), to the wrestling Dusek Brothers [see above] and one of the artist’s most unsettling images, Brother and Sister, Cuzco — all of which were made during the same fertile two year period.

All the photographs in the exhibition were printed by the photographer himself, using gelatin-silver or platinum-palladium papers. After more than fifty years Penn’s work continues to be relevant for its great refinement of craft, for the wit and grace of its formal invention, and for its unequaled sensitivity to the quality and character of light.