Thursday, November 15, 2018

Irving Penn: Centennial, Part II



The Met Fifth Avenue, Gallery 199  
April 24–July 30, 2017








The Metropolitan Museum of Art will present a major retrospective of the photographs of Irving Penn to mark the centennial of the artist's birth. Over the course of his nearly 70-year career, Irving Penn (1917–2009) mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, detail, and printmaking. Irving Penn: Centennial, opening April 24, 2017, will be the most comprehensive exhibition of the great American photographer's work to date and will include both masterpieces and hitherto unknown prints from all his major series.
  • Still Life 

    A still life is a representation of people. —Irving Penn In still life—his first and perhaps deepest love in photography—Penn established a notable discipline of rigor and compression that stood him in good stead for his long career with the camera. Still lifes were among his earliest assignments after joining Vogue in 1943. When composing these pictures he played the role of storyteller but left out the human protagonists. All that remains are their traces—an alluring smear of lipstick on a brandy glass, a burnt match. Penn constructed these (and all of his) photographs through a bravura act of reduction, challenging the viewer to apprehend their internal order and read them for signs of life. 




    Theatre Accident, New York, 1947 Dye transfer print, 1984
    Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation




    Still Life with Watermelon, New York, 1947 Dye transfer print, 1985 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation




    Salad Ingredients, New York, 1947 Dye transfer print, 1984 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Early Street Photographs

    Penn acquired his first camera—a twin-lens-reflex, 2¼-inch-square-format Rolleiflex—in 1938 while working as an assistant to Alexey Brodovitch, the legendary graphic designer and art director at Harper’s Bazaar. Penn’s earliest photographs are studies of nineteenth-century shopfronts, hand-lettered advertisements, and street signs in Philadelphia and New York. With their visual clarity and vernacular content, these pictures reflect the subject matter of Depression-era, documentary-style photography. Frequently, Penn focused in close to his subject when framing the image in the camera and then cropped it more extremely in his finished print. 

    Penn continued this style of picture-making on a short trip through the American South in 1941 and during the following year, which he spent painting and photographing in Mexico.




    O’Sullivan’s Heels, New York, ca. 1939 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation





    Union Bar Window, American South, 1941 Gelatin silver print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

    Beef Still Life, New York, 1943 Chromogenic print, 2003Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

    After-Dinner Games, New York, 1947 Dye transfer print, 1985Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationPulquería Decoration, Mexico, 1942 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationW La Libertà, Italy, 1945 Gelatin silver print, 2001 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationPenn returned from Mexico at the end of 1942 and spent thefollowing year at Voguewhere, as he said, he “became [a] professional photographer” while working for Alexander Liberman, the fashion magazine’s art director. Except for a short break in 1944–45 to servein Europe and India as a staff photographer and ambulance driver with the American Field Service, during which this photograph was made, Penn remained with the magazine forthe next six decades. Existential Portraits, 1947–48Irving Penn: CentennialAfter serving in the war, in 1945 Penn returned to his work at Vogue. To infuse the magazine with culture and boost his associate’s budding career, art director Alexander Libermanasked Penn to make a series of portraits of personalities. The sitters were selected for him, but the set, lighting, and conduct of the sessions were up to the photographer.Not yet thirty and hardly known, Penn had to find a way to direct the sessions with his famous subjects. He found that cornering them between two angled stage flats was an effective way to control the interaction and amplify their responses. The unfinished nature of the set highlights the artifice of studio portraiture. Likewise, the sitters’ sometimes disproportionate body parts (such as Joe Louis’s narrow shoulders and enormous feet) call attention to the foreshortening distortions of the camera’s lens. Another minimal schema Penn used was an old carpet tossed over boxes. Like the no-exit corner, this barren no-man’s-land seemed appropriate to the psychic tenor of the postwar moment. By 1948 these stark, astute portraits had made Penn’s name.Marcel Duchamp, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationJerome Robbins, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationElsa Schiaparelli, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationBottom, left to right Alfred Hitchcock, New York, 1947Gelatin silver printPeter Ustinov, New York, 1947 Gelatin silver printPromised Gifts of The Irving Penn FoundationMrs. Amory Carhart, New York, 1947 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationSpencer Tracy, New York, 1948 Irving Penn: CentennialGelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationJoe Louis, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationGeorge Grosz, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver print Truman Capote, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationAudioguide #302Dusek Brothers, New York, ca. 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationLe Corbusier, New York, 1947 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationGeorge Jean Nathan and H. L. Mencken, New York, 1947Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationIgor Stravinsky, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of TheIrving Penn FoundationBallet Society, New York, 1948 Platinum-palladium print, 1976 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationCharles James, New York, 1948 Gelatin silver print, 2002Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationCarl Erickson and Elise Daniels, New York, 1947Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationSalvador Dalí, New York, 1947 Irving Penn: CentennialGelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationIn Vogue, 1947–51Once Penn’s prowess in portraiture was established, Alexander Liberman groomed him for fashion. “Alex thought I was a bit of a street savage,” Penn recalled. He was instructed to buy an evening jacket and to attend “the collections,” the highly anticipatedshowings of Parisian couture. However, the crush of competing photographers and excited editors at these events overwhelmed Penn. He preferred to work away from the fray, without fancy settings or accoutrements, and, if possible, in a daylight studio. Forthe 1950 collections, therefore, a Paris studio was found, as well as a theatrical curtain that served as a neutral backdrop. In an old building with neither electricity nor water and up several flights of rickety stairs, the top-floor studio had north-facing windows. Penn was delighted with the spartan place and pearly light, with the superbly wrought fashions by Balenciaga and other designers, and with his models. He praised one talented model, Lisa Fonssagrives, a former dancer who had accompanied himfrom New York, for her finesse of draping and pose. Their knowing collaboration, detectable in her gaze, resulted in an unparalleled suite of pictures. caption:Irving Penn, Irving Penn’s Studio in Paris, 1950. Gelatin silver print. The Irving Penn FoundationVogueCoversBetween 1943 and 2004 Penn produced photographs for 165 Voguemagazine covers, more than any other artist to date. Perhaps the most famous is the April 1, 1950, issue (in the middle), a snazzy composition in black and white featuring Jean Patchett. In the bottom row, Suzy Parker holds one of Penn’s Rolleiflex cameras, the type he used for most of the photographs in this gallery and throughout his working life. The woman in profile wearing gray fur (and in a light blue hat and dress, and with binoculars) is Lisa Fonssagrives, the most famous and highest paid model of the day.Glove and Shoe, New York, 1947 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationDior Dress (Dorian Leigh), New York, 1949 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationIrving Penn: CentennialThe Twelve Most Photographed Models, New York, 1947Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationOwing to his evident talents with both still-life arrange-mentand portraiture, Penn was tasked with Vogue’s group portraits. These bravado feats of chore-ography were tough assignments, and given the compet-itiveness of many fashion models, this one could have been harrowing. Yet Penn relished this particular job, not only for its challenges but also because it was here that he met Lisa Fonssagrives (back row, center left, in profile). They were married in London three years later.The Tarot Reader (Bridget Tichenor and Jean Patchett), New York, 1949 Gelatin silverprint, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationKerchief Glove (Dior), Paris, 1950 Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationBlack and White Fashion with Handbag (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950Gelatin silver print,2003Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationModern Family—The Broken Pitcher, New York, 1947Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationBalenciaga Sleeve (Régine Debrise), Paris, 1950Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationGirl with Tobacco on Tongue (Mary Jane Russell), New York, 1951Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationSpanish Hat by Tatiana du Plessix (Dovima), New York, 1949Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationIn the days when well-dressed women wore hats, Tatiana du Plessix was a highly regarded milliner with a design studio at Saks Fifth Avenue. She was also the wife of Alexander Liberman. The model, Dovima, posed for Penn and most every photographer of the era. Cocoa-Colored Balenciaga Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950 Platinum-palladium print, 1980Irving Penn: CentennialPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationRochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950Platinum-palladium print, 1980Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationAudioguide #303Balenciaga Mantle Coat (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950Platinum-palladium print, 1988Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationWoman with Roses (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in Lafaurie Dress), Paris, 1950 Platinum-palladium print, 1968Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationVogue Fashion Photograph (Jean Patchett), New York, 1949Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationLarge Sleeve (Sunny Harnett), New York, 1951Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationMan Lighting Girl’s Cigarette (Jean Patchett), New York, 1949 Gelatin silver print, 1983Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationWoman in Chicken Hat (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1949 Gelatin silver printPromised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationWith the war and rationing over, in the late 1940s and early 1950s the pages of American fashion magazines exploded with chic styles from Paris, London,and New York. Penn responded to the new looks—the cinched waists, full skirts, and, at times, eccentric millinery—with equal flair. PrintmakingPenn believed that there were many ways to interpret his negatives during the printing process, as seen here in four distinct variations of the same photograph, Girl Drinking, New York, 1949. The earliest example shown, a traditional gelatin silver print (far left), dates from about 1960, ten years after the photograph appeared in color in Vogue; the latest, another gelatin silver print (far right), was made by Penn forty years later. The two Irving Penn: Centennialversions in the middle are platinum-palladium prints from 1976 and 1977. Penn taught himself this laborious contact-printing process, long considered out-of-date, in the 1960s, when picture magazines had begun their decline. Using negatives he enlarged to the size of the prints he wished to make, and artist papers he selectively mounted to aluminum and coated with multiple layers of platinum and palladium, Penn executed editions from his current and older work.He experimented with highlight and shadow values, tones, and paper surfaces as well as color and scale. While most photographers try for consistency inprinting, variations were freedom for Penn: each denoted a different thought about what the picture should express. It followed that there could be many versions of “perfect.”Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), NewYork, 1949Gelatin silver print, ca. 1960Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationGirl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), New York, 1949Platinum-palladium print, 1976Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), New York, 1949 Platinum-palladium print, ca. 1977 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

    Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), New York, 1949Gelatin silver print, 2000
    Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationCuzco, 1948

    In late November 1948 Vogue sent Penn to Lima, Peru, for his first fashion assignment on location. After completing the sessions with Jean Patchett, he traveled alone to Cuzco, the splendid city high in the Andes. Penn quickly found a local photographer’s daylight studio to rent and produced, in three days, hundreds of portraits of residents and visitors from nearby villages, all wearing their traditional woolen clothing. The photographs reveal a couturier’s instinctive grasp of a garment’s weight, pattern, and texture and a stage director’s knack for posing subjects. The Cuzco series also established the fundamental visual and psychological principles behind the portraits Penn would make in distant corners of the world over the next twenty-five years. Although virtually all of the Cuzco photographs that Penn later printedare in black and white (both gelatin silver and platinum-palladium prints), heused color transparency film for much of his work in Peru. “Christmas at Cuzco,” published by Voguein December 1949 Irving Penn: Centennial(see case nearby), featured a suite of eleven color portraits with an unsigned introduction written by Penn. Young Quechuan Man, Cuzco, 1948 Gelatin silver print, 1949Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationIn Cuzco, Penn photographed both residents and visitors who came to the city from nearby villages with goods to sell or barter at the Christmastime fiestas. Many arrived at the studio to sit for their annual family portraits. Penn later recalled that they “found me instead of him [the local photographer] waiting for them, and instead of paying me for the pictures it was I who paid them for posing.” 


    Many Skirted Indian Woman, Cuzco, 1948 Platinum-palladium print, 1989Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Cuzco Father and Son with Eggs, 1948 Platinum-palladium print, 1982Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Mother and Posing Daughter, Cuzco, 1948 Platinum-palladium print, 1989Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation
     


    Young mothers arrived at Penn’s rented studio with their newborns strapped in little hammocks on their backs; shepherds and porters came dressed in colorful, striped ponchos and woolen capes; and street vendors from near and far showed up with their wares, including straw hats, newspapers, and fresh eggs from the valleys far below the city. Penn posed these sitters with his distilled awareness of the poetics of available light and his sense of how to delicately tilt a head in order to strengthen a chin, shadow an ear, or animate the eyes. 

    Cuzco Children, 1948 Platinum-palladium print, 1968 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationAudioguide #305


    Newspaper Boy, Cuzco, 1948 Gelatin silver print, 1949 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Street Vendor Wearing Many Hats, Cuzco, 1948 Irving Penn: Centennial Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationThe woman in this photograph poses in an ensemble typically worn during mourning rites.Sitting Enga Woman, New Guinea, 1970 Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationEnga Tribesman, New Guinea, 1970 Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationWoman with Three Tribesmen, New Guinea, 1970Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationMan with Pink Face, New Guinea, 1970 Silver dye bleach print, 1993Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationAlthough Penn worked in both color and black and white when traveling the far corners of the globe, he produced almost no color prints of the pictures. That visual experience was left to the printed pages of Vogue,which published them from 1967 to 1971 (see case nearby). Penn made this trial print of a New Guinea man two decades later, by which time doubts about color photography’s capacities as an art form had evaporated. Penn evidently preferred the black-and-white medium, however, and did not make further color trials. This print has never before been exhibited. 
    \

    Man with Pink Face, New Guinea, 1970 Platinum-palladium print, 1978Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation New Guinea 



    Man with Black Beard, 1970 Gelatin silver print, 2005Promised Giftof The Irving Penn Foundation



    Tambul Warrior, New Guinea, 1970 Gelatin silver print, 1984Promised Gift of The Irving Penn 



    New Guinea Man with Painted-On Glasses, 1970 Platinum-palladium print, 1979 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Three New Guinea Men Painted White, 1970Platinum-palladium print, 1979Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Morocco, 1971

    If Cuzco was the start of Penn’s project to photograph remote peoples of the world in situ, then Morocco was the end of the journey. For this last expedition, Penn set up his tent in the town square of Guelmin, a southern city home to an ancient camel market and known as the “Gateway to the Desert.” Penn wrote that he invited the guedradancers to pose: “Those chosen sat, eyes fixed on the lens, enjoying the camera’s scrutiny yet themselves impenetrable.” After the trip, Penn began printing photographs from his travels for his book Worlds in a Small Room(1974).Among the Moroccan subjects, he selected several images that would speak eloquently in black and white. Veiled in their burkas and seated in rocklike immobility, the figures are enigmatic. Despite the challenging, wind-whipped conditions, Penn was able to extract mesmeric monuments of stillness, a remarkable demonstration of patience and expertise in visualizing a desired outcome.Woman with Three Loaves, Morocco, 1971 Gelatin silverprint, 1990Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationTwo Guedras, Morocco, 1971 Platinum-palladium print, 1977 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationFour Guedras, Morocco, 1971Platinum-palladium print, 1985Promised Gift of The Irving Penn FoundationTwo Women in Black with Bread, Morocco, 1971Platinum-palladium print, 1986Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Dahomey, 1967

    Penn visited the newly independent Republic of Dahomey, present-day Benin, shortly after photo-graphing an African art exhibition in Paris in 1966. It was for this and subsequent trips to Africa and the Pacific that he designed his portable studio, made of an aluminum skeleton covered by a special windowed nylon tent. His first sitters in Dahomey were children and young women living in the lagoon town of Ganvié, known to Westerners as the “Venice of Africa.” The trip to Dahomey was inspired by widely circulated photographs of legendary female warriors who had been infamously exhibited at world’s fairs in the nineteenth century. Seen within this context, Penn’s photographs may evoke unsettling narratives of colonial history. They reveal a dichotomy of wills, a tension between the self-possession and occasional defiance of the sitters and the artist’s overt direction of their postures.


    Dahomey Children, 1967Platinum-palladium print, 1980 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Three DahomeyGirls, One Reclining, 1967 Platinum-palladium print, 1980 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Audioguide #313Five Dahomey Girls, Two Standing, 1967 Platinum-palladium print, 1985 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Scarred DahomeyGirl, 1967Platinum-palladium print, 1984 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    In Benin, the carefully arranged cicatrization marks (raised scar formations) on a woman’s body are traditional signs of beauty and spiritual empowerment.

    Three AsaroM ud Men, New Guinea, 1970 Platinum-palladium print, 1976 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    “Adornment for Gods, for Love, for War,” Vogue, December 1970Offset lithographyThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library

     “The Quest for Beauty in Dahomey,” Vogue, December 1967Offset lithographyThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library


    Penn: Centennial“The Veiled Mystery of Morocco,” Vogue, December1971Offset lithographyThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Joyce F. Menschel Photography Library


    “The Spectacular Highlanders of New Guinea, SouthPacific,” Vogue, December 1970Offset lithographyThe Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Joyce F. Menschel Photography 


    Library Time Capsules

    The portraits and photographs of style in this room range in date from the 1960s to the first decade of the twenty-first century. The expressions of sixties modernity—such as model Marisa Berenson in a brazen bridal outfit and author Tom Wolfe’s BeauBrummel flair—embody the swinging “youthquake” years. The lighter tone of these images yields, in works from more recent decades, to nostalgic fantasies and suggestions of lost innocence and futile vanity. While Penn’s sense of beauty had always included the inevitability of decay, the death of his wife (in 1992) and his own advancing years affected his perspective, turning his late fashion photography into a brilliant mirror of life’s transience.


    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, New York, 1993 Gelatin silver print, 2002 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

    Truman Capote, New York, 1965 Platinum-palladium print, 1968Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1986 (1986.1206)


    Joan Didion, New York, 1996 Gelatin silver print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation Vogue,September 15, 1967 Offset lithography The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,

    Late Still Life 

    Penn managed to stay creative throughout his sixty-six years at Vogue because the editorial demands continuously evolved and because he engaged in personally nourishing side projects exploring still life, his first love.  

    Between 1975 and 2007 Penn produced four major series: Street Material, Archaeology, Vessels, and Underfoot. They are compositions of old bottles and vases, and of detritus—gutter rubbish, metal parts, rags, bones, and decaying fruit. In his off-hours, Penn often sketched or painted the same objects (see case nearby).

    Like assembling a jigsaw puzzle, but in three dimensions, Penn’s still-life habit was a form of creative meditation. Engrossed with the materials, he considered the imaginative realms residing in the life of shoe leather, a fissured crock, or a flower petal. As sensitive to the charge emitted by objects as he was to the spark from individuals, Penn listened to their messages and photographed them singly or arranged in conversations, as human surrogates. These assemblages were then disassembled and painstakingly rearranged to form other constellations. Pictured are moments of rest in the ongoing flow of Penn’s active mind; they make permanent a cycle of constant change and offer further proof of the artist’s exceptional, lifelong fecundity.

    Three-Tiered Vessel, New York, 2007 Gelatin silver print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Irving Penn: Centennial Mouth (for L’Oreal), New York, 1986 Dye transfer print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Single Oriental Poppy, New York, 1968 Dye transfer print, 1987 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation



    Hell’s Angel (Doug), San Francisco, 1967 Gelatin silver print, before 1975 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Birgitta Klercker —Long Hair with Bathing Suit, New York, 1966Gelatin silver print, 1985 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Balenciaga Rose Dress, Paris, 1967 Gelatin silver print,2002 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Ungaro Bride Body Sculpture (Marisa Berenson), Paris, 1969 Gelatin silver print, 1985 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Audioguide #314Naomi Sims in Scarf, New York, ca. 1969 Gelatin silver print, 1985 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Irving Penn: CentennialNicole Kidman in a Chanel Couture, Lagerfeld’s Mannish Tweed Jacket, New York, 2004 Gelatin silver print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Issey Miyake Staircase Dress, New York, 1994Platinum-palladium print, 1997 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation

    In The 1960s Vogue asked Penn to photograph flowers, a subject that had not attracted him previously but became a passion for The duration of The commission. He wrote: “My preference is for flowers considerably after They have passed that point of perfection, when They have already begun spotting and browning and twisting on Their way back to The earth.” 

    The images were published in special Christmas issues from 1967 to 1973.




    Three Poppies ‘Arab Chief’, New York, 1969 Dye transfer print, 1992 Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Peony ‘Silver Dawn’, New York, 2006 Inkjet print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Underfoot IX, New York, 2000Gelatin silver print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Cup Face, New York, 1975 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Mud Glove, New York, 1975 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Camel Pack, New York, 1975 Platinum-palladium printPurchase, Nancy and Edwin Marks Gift, 1990 (1990.1000)Deli Package, New York, 1975 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Cup, New York, 1975 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation



    Parade, New York, 1980 Platinum-palladium print  Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation


    Still Life with Shoe, New York, 1980 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation




    Three Steel Blocks, New York, 1980 Platinum-palladium print Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation




    Still Life of Nine Pieces, New York, 2005 Inkjet printing, watercolor, and gum arabic on paper The Irving Penn Foundation







    IRVING PENN QUOTES 
    “I myself have always stood in awe of the camera.I recognize it for the instrument that it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel.”


    “I don’t think I was overawed by the subjects. I thought we were in the same boat.”


    “A beautiful print is a thing in itself.”


    “The daylight . . . is the light of Paris, the light of painters.It seems to fall as a caress.”


    “Photography is just the present state of man’s visual history.”


    “To me personally,photography is a way to overcome mortality.”


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Sotheby’s American Art Auction in New York on 16 November



Two Comedians, 1965 - Edward Hopper

Sotheby’s has announced that Edward Hopper’s Two Comedians will lead the American Art Auction in New York on 16 November 2018 (estimate $12/18 million). Painted in 1966, Two Comedians ranks among the most poignant and personal works in Hopper’s celebrated oeuvre. Evocative of many of the most important themes in Hopper’s body of 2work, this seminal painting is distinguished further by its notable provenance: it was acquired by Frank and Barbara Sinatra in 1972, and remained in their collection until it was purchased by the current owner in 1995. 

The present work represents the culmination of Hopper’s career, presenting a self-portrait of the artist and his wife, Jo, on stage, taking a final bow before turning to walk into the unknown.Jo served as Hopper’s primary model and muse throughout his oeuvre, yet she was typically portrayed as an anonymous character in an enigmatic scene. In Two Comedians,Hopper depicts his wife explicitly as the two figures hold hands and gesture tenderly toward one another, a positioning that symbolizes their close bond and the significant role Jo played in the artist’s life and art. 

Two Comedians manifests a number of leitmotifs that recur throughout Hopper’s career. His choice of a stage for the setting of the present work speaks to his lifelong interest in theate rand film, as well as his voyeuristic approach to his art and his interest in watching his subjects interact with their environments. Hopper also depicts himself and Jo as17thcentury Italian performers, known as Pierrots. He crops the work to eliminate the audience, a decision that speaks to his affinity for performers and his consideration of them as fellow outsiders, who shared the same sense of detachment he often felt during his life. The empty spaces and voids found throughout Hopper’s work are connected to the theme of death, which is emotionally manifested in the darkly nebulous background of Two Comedians. #


GRANT WOOD’S SEMINAL PORTRAIT OF HIS SISTER, NAN
On offer for the first time in over 65 years, Portrait of Nan comes to auction at a time of heightened interest in Grant Wood’s work, following his recent 2018 retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art (estimate $1.5/2.5 million). This extremely personal work portrays Wood's beloved sister Nan, whose likeness is most recognized in the artist's American Gothic from 1931, one of the most iconic images in 20th century art. In response to the criticism the artist received for his stern depiction of Nan in American Gothic, Wood painted Portrait of Nan one year later as a heartfelt apology to his sister.

The only work Wood refused to sell in his lifetime, Portrait of Nan remained in the artist's collection until his death in 1942. In 1952, the work was purchased by Senator William Benton of Connecticut, the publisher of the Encyclopedia Britannica, and an important patron of American modernism, and subsequently descended to his daughter Helen Boley, appearing at auction this November from her estate.

A NORMAN ROCKWELL CHRISTMAS

 Image result
 
Leading the selection of five works on offer by Norman Rockwell is his Tired Salesgirl on Christmas Eve (estimate $5/7 million), which served as the cover illustration for the 27 December 1947 edition of The Saturday Evening Post, and which has remained in the same private collection since it was last sold in 1996. The painting depicts a department store employee on Christmas Eve after a strenuous shift, exhausted by the relentless onslaught of customers seeking last-minute gifts. To create this composition, Rockwell had elements of the scene photographed on-site at the Marshall Field department store in Chicago, and asked a 17-year-old waitress he discovered working at a diner nearby to pose as his protagonist. The work demonstrates Rockwell’s undeniable gift for visual narration, and captures an aspect of the holiday season that would become increasingly common throughout the century.




A RARE & MONUMENTAL CANVAS BY EMANUEL GOTTLIEB LEUTZE

 
 
The selection of Western art on offer this November is led by Emanual Gottlieb Leutze's Western Emigrant Train Bound for California Across the Plains, Alarmed by Approach of Hostile Indians (estimate $2.5/3.5 million). Though Leutze was born in Germany in 1816 and spent most of his life living and working there, his paintings of the significant figures and historical events of 18th and 19th century America rank as the most celebrated images of his oeuvre - including his iconic image of Washington Crossing the Delaware (The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York). Painted in 1863, this dynamic image represents one of Leutze’s finest achievements on the subject of Manifest Destiny and the struggle to tame the Wild West. Highly ambitious and sophisticated in both content and form, the painting exemplifies the unique synthesis of realism and idealism that allowed Leutze to successfully mythologize episodes of American history.

Measuring more than 5.5 feet across, the impressively-scaled work is being sold this fall to benefit the Dover Free Public Library in Dover, New Jersey, where it has resided since it was gifted to the institution in 1943.

HORACE PIPPIN’S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL WORK 
 
A self-taught painter from West Chester, Pennsylvania, Horace Pippin began producing art at age 37, after his honorable discharge from the United States army due to an injury. 

 Holy Mountain I, 1944 - Horace Pippin

The pastoral Holy Mountain, I presents an autobiographical scene, with a harmonic foreground that is contrasted by the soldiers marching through the ominous forested background (estimate $1/1.5 million). The painting is first in a series of four works Pippin executed on this subject. Reflecting both his personal experiences in World War II and the cultural climate of the period, the painting – dated June 6, 1994 – corresponds with D-Day, further reinforcing the ideological dichotomy between war and peace. Holy Mountain, I last appeared at auction in 1981 at Sotheby’s New York, establishing the artist’s auction record of $385,000 that has held to this day.

THE ESTATE OF ESTELLE WOLF
 
Sotheby’s will present a group of four works from the Estate of Estelle Wolf are led by

https://uploads4.wikiart.org/images/robert-henri/at-far-rockaway-1902.jpg!Large.jpg

 Robert Henri’s At Far Rockaway from 1902, an important 20th century landscape of Rockaway Beach in New York City that represents a pivotal moment in the artist’s career (estimate $700,000/1,000,000). At Far Rockaway represents one of the earliest examples of Henri's works that demonstrate the influence of the Spanish tradition of painting, which turned the attention of a generation of important American artists including George Bellows and Edward Hopper toward the gestural European style. 

Sargent - Mrs. Charles Anstruther-Thomson (Agnes Dorothy Guthrie0

John Singer Sargent’s portrait Mrs. Charles Anstruther-Thomson is another highlight from the Wolf Estate (estimate $450/550,000). The work depicts Anges Anstruther-Thomson, a fashionable member of London society and wife of prominent Scottish landowner Charles Anstruth-Thomson. The painting remained with Mrs. Charles Anstruther-Thomson and descended in her family until it was sold at Sotheby's in 1981.

GEORGIA O’KEEFFE’S SOUTHWESTERN INSPIRATION
 
Four years following the sale of 

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Georgia O’Keeffe’s iconic flower painting Jimson Weed/White Flower No. 1, Sotheby’s announced that they will again offer three important works by the artist from the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, New Mexico to benefit its Acquisitions Fund.

The American Art auction on 16 November is highlighted by 

Cottonwood Tree in Spring, 1943 - Georgia O'Keeffe


Cottonwood Tree in Spring from 1943 (estimate $1.5/2.5 million). 

O’Keeffe started to visit New Mexico regularly in 1929 when, in an effort to escape city life, she left New York to spend the summer there.

Works such as Cottonwood Tree in Spring reveal the profound inspiration O’Keeffe gleaned from the American Southwest. The sublime beauty of the landscape provided a free range for her imagination, and she would continue to investigate its imagery for the remainder of her life, returning almost every summer until 1949 when she made Abiquiu her permanent home. While the artist had always utilized the natural world as the basis for her unique visual language, in New Mexico her art gained an even deeper intimacy and, in works such as Cottonwood Tree in Spring, it transcends a literal study of nature to evoke the spiritual connection she felt with her adopted home.

Two additional works by the artist from the O’Keefe Museum –  

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A Street, a rare and highly significant depiction of New York City from 1926, and the striking  

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Calla Lilies on Red from 1928 – will highlight the Contemporary Art Evening Auction on 14 November 2018. 
 

12 December in London, Sotheby's = Caspar David Friedrich



Today more perhaps than at any time since Caspar David Friedrich’s death almost 180 years ago, his sublime and timeless landscapes are being appreciated by artists and public alike.The artistic embodiment of landscape painting of the Romantic era, Friedrich strove to express mood and meaning through nature, his aesthetic informed by his Protestant upbringing and the idea of divine creation manifesting itself in the natural world.
On 12 December in London, Sotheby’s will offer two landscapes by Friedrich, each work a distillation ofthe artist’s search for deeper meaning within the appearance of nature. 

Both paintings come to auction with distinguished provenance: 

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Landschaft mit Gebirgssee am Morgen (Landscape with Mountain Lake, Morning)oil on canvas, 71.5 by 93cm

Landschaft mit Gebirgssee am Morgen (Landscape with Mountain Lake, Morning) from the collection of the late Dr Erika Pohl-Ströher (est. £2-3 million/ €2.2-3.4 million*) 


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Sonnenblick im Riesengebirge (Sunburst in the Giant Mountains)oil on canvas, 25.5 by 32cm 



and Sonnenblick im Riesengebirge (Sunburst in the Giant Mountains)by descent through the family of the preeminent German-Swiss art dealer DrFritz Nathan (est. £500,000-700,000/ €560,000-780,000).

Paintings by Friedrich rarely appear at auction –the emergence of these two works onto the market marks the first time in twelve years since an oil by the artist came under the hammer at Sotheby’s.

Frans Hals and the Moderns

Frans Hals Museum

13th October 2018 - 24th February 2019

Hals meets Manet, Singer, Sargent, Van Gogh

Frans Hals was rediscovered as a modern idol two hundred years after his death. He was admired, even adored by late 19th-century artists such as Édouard Manet, Max Liebermann and Vincent van Gogh. They were all impressed by his loose touch and rough painting style, which came across as ‘Impressionist’.

This exhibition shows Frans Hals’s immense impact on these modern painters. For the first time, paintings by the famous 17th-century portrait painter are being shown alongside reactions to his work from other major eras of painting.

Seeing works by Frans Hals alongside virtuoso work by the artists whom he inspired gives insight into how modern Frans Hals was in in their eyes: ‘Frans Hals, c’est un moderne’.




Rediscovering Frans Hals

Exactly 150 years ago – in 1868 – Frans Hals was rediscovered by the influential French art critic Théophile Thoré-Bürger. Art critics had disregarded Hals for most of the eighteenth century and the first half of the nineteenth. His innovative painting style with his lose touch no longer chimed with the prevailing academic style. This loose painting style was associated with his ‘licentious’ lifestyle and presented as a poor example. This meant that his paintings were worth little in the art market and Frans Hals’s name did not feature in most works about the Golden Age.

Thoré-Bürger (who was also instrumental in rediscovering Vermeer) discussed Hals’s work in various publications, but it was two articles for the influential art magazine Gazette des Beaux-Arts, in which he extolled the artist’s virtues, that had the most impact. Thoré-Bürger specifically cited Hals’s virtuosity and daring brushwork as an example to modern artists. The articles sparked renewed interest in Hals’s paintings and a reassessment of his style among contemporary painters. The price of his works skyrocketed, and every respected museum and collector was eager to acquire a Hals. Many painters – to begin with mainly French, but soon German, English and American too – travelled hundreds of miles to Haarlem, which became a veritable place of pilgrimage for artists, where they could admire Hals’s work in the recently opened Gemeentemuseum (1862).

Frans Hals and the Moderns

The 150th anniversary of this rediscovery is an opportunity to stage an exhibition about the grand master of the portrait. Frans Hals and the Moderns: Hals Meets Manet, Singer Sargent, Van Gogh reveals the strength of Hals’s influence on painters in the second half of the nineteenth century. Frans Hals was admired, even worshipped by late nineteenth-century artists like Edouard Manet, Max Liebermann, John Singer Sargent, James Ensor, Mary Cassatt, Gustave Courbet, McNeill Whistler, William Merritt Chase, Henri Fantin-Latour and Vincent van Gogh. They were impressed by his lose touch and rough manner, which they saw as ‘impressionist’.

This exhibition, which runs from October 13, 2018 to February 10, 2019 in the Frans Hals Museum, in the Hof, features some eighty loans reflecting the impact Hals had on these modern painters. For the first time in the history of art, paintings by Frans Hals will be placed alongside works and artists he inspired.


THE MASTERPIECES I.A. MALLE BABBE AND JOSEPH ROULIN
 
The museum has so many special works on loan of other great painters from national and international museums and private collections. The following paintings have, for example, never been on view in the Netherlands before:



Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Postman Joseph Roulin , 1888
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

• Postman Joseph Roulin (1888)



Madame Roulin and her Baby (1888) by Van Gogh;

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• Corner of a Café-concert (1878/80)

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and Boy with Pitcher (1862/72) by Manet;

• A lost copy by Manet of a group portrait by Hals has recently been recovered. The museum will closely examine the rediscovered Manet in the months to come;

 

• A special work on loan from the Van Gogh Museum, Head of a Prostitute by Van Gogh;

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• Other works by Hals have also returned to their hometown, such as The Smoker,



Laughing Boy and Malle Babbe.

For the first time in history, two Malle Babbes will be shown together:

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the original by Frans Hals (1633/35)

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and the copy made by Gustave Courbet (1869).

The last time Hals’ Malle Babbe (from the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin) was on view was during the major Hals exhibition in 1995.

GLOSSY
 
The exhibition is accompanied by a beautiful glossy magazine featuring a varied mix of articles that combine detail with art appreciation. This inspiring magazine includes contributions by well-known Dutch journalists such as Merel Bem, Arjan Visser, Elma Drayer and José Rozenbroek and art historian Griselda Pollock. The magazine was designed and produced by Studio Room (known from LINDA magazine) and is available at AKO, the better bookstores (Haarlem and Amsterdam area) and the museumshop.


 Frans Hals, Regentesses of the Old Men's Alms House, circa 1664. Oil on canvas. Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem. Photo: Rene Gerritsen.




Frans Hals, a Dutch Gentleman, National Galleries of Scotland




















Frans Hals, Portrait of Pieter Jacobsz Olycan, 1629/30, Frans Hals Museum, on loan from a private collection


John Singer Sargent
Mrs. Ernest Hill (Constance Malanie Wynne-Roberts)


 
Robert Henri, Laughing Boy
 




Frans Hals (ca. 1582-1666), The Fisher Boy (detail), 1632/1633
Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, Antwerp