Platinum-palladium print, printed in 1987, and dye transfer, printed in 1987

Platinum-palladium print - image: 46 x 55.5 cm (18 1/8 x 21 7/8 in.) Dye transfer print - image: 56 x 66 cm (22 1/16 x 26 in.)

Besides his photographic work in fashion, ethnography and professional commissions, later in life Irving Penn developed a passion for the still life genre, flowers in particular.

Always framed against a white background to enhance their physicality and colours, as in these three examples, Irving Penn’s flowers are taken close-up and often split in diptychs in chromatic and monochromatic versions. They often appear captured in an ephemeral, even wilted, beauty, with scattered petals, like photographic vanities: “My preference for flowers [grows] significantly once they are past their prime, when they start […] turning brown, returning to the earth”.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, these photographic still lifes were presented at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition held at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.