Irving Penn, Leontyne Price, New York, 1961, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. Copyright © Condé Nast.
Known for his iconic images, many of which graced the pages of the equally inimitable Vogue magazine, Irving Penn (1917–2009) is one of the leading photographers of the 20th century.Adept at transforming mundane objects — including food, cigarette butts, and street debris — into striking images of surreal beauty, he deftly used both black-and-white and color techniques, thus bridging the gap between fashion and art; magazine and fine art photography.
This year, the first retrospective of the lensman’s work in almost 20 years is touring several museums and art centers in North America, making stops that include the Dallas Museum of Art in Texas this month.
Titled Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty, the exhibition will showcase about 150 images drawn exclusively from the large and diverse permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Aimed at presenting the full range of his oeuvre, the photos represent all stages of Penn’s nearly 70-year career, and range from 1930s street scenes and 1940s vignettes of the American South, to the elegant fashion editorials of the 1950s, as well as more recent celebrity portraits, and private studio shots.On display for the first time will be several images that have never been seen by the public, as well as Super 8mm films, made by Penn’s wife Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, of her husband at work in Morocco. The exhibition will continue its tour with a stop at the Lunder Art Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and move on to three more venues in 2017 and 2018.
Dallas Museum of Art - Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty - 15.04.2016-14.08.2016
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