Four Guedras, Morocco, et al.


Platinum-palladium print, flush-mounted on aluminium

58 x 50 cm (22 13/16 x 19 11/16 in.)

During his journey to the south of Morocco between 1970 and 1971, Irving Penn explored secluded villages at the edge of the desert. Interested in tribal cultures, he printed a series of portraits of the Berber men and women he encountered, portraying them in their traditional garb and distinct attributes.

Despite the distance from his New York studio, here the photographer used again his technique of a neutral canvas background defining a decontextualised space in order to highlight the sculptural dimension of his subjects, all the more powerful and enigmatic as it involved female models wearing burkas. Still according to a highly controlled composition, the photographer plays with the effects of the materials of traditional costumes and jewellery as well as a game of chromatic rhythm between black and white.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, these four photographs, taken by Irving Penn during his Moroccan journey, were presented at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition held at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.