Marlene Dietrich, New York


Silver print

9 5/8 x 7 5/8 in

Irving Penn (1917-2009), one of the undisputed masters of twentieth-century photography, is known for his iconic images of haute couture and still life, but also, and above all, for his magnificent portraits of the artists, writers and celebrities who marked the cultural landscape of their time.

Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992) was a twentieth-century icon. An extraordinary actress and singer, femme fatale and muse to the greatest fashion designers, employed by the American armed services during WWII, Marlene Dietrich was a powerful woman who lived her life and conducted her career with a firm resolve. She made her debut in The Blue Angel (1930), directed by Josef von Sternberg, with whom she would make another eight movies. Paramount soon contacted her, and she left for America to pursue a career in Hollywood. She acted for the greatest directors of her time: Orson Welles (A Touch of Evil), Alfred Hitchcock (Stage Fright), Fritz Lang (Rancho Notorious), and René Clair (The Flame of New Orleans), among others. This disconcertingly sober portrait depicts the legendary actress totally unadorned, with only her face standing out against her large black cape. There is a certain intimacy in the way that Marlene Dietrich reveals her fragility without overplaying her expression for the camera

This photograph was shown for the first time by Pinault Collection in 2015 during the exhibition "Irving Penn, Resonance", at Palazzo Grassi, Venice.