Nude, New York


Platinum-palladium print. Printed in 1969. With transparency.

47.2 x 47.9 cm (18 9/16 x 18 7/8 in.)

Like stylised sculptural shapes, these photographic nudes focus on the pelvis of a female model, revealing her abdomen or buttocks, depending on the perspective, whose large curves stand out against a grey background. The marble whiteness of the skin is altered only by the shadow cast by the navel, by moles or discreet pubic hair.

Wishing to photograph “real women in real situations”, in 1949 Irving Penn began his first photographic nudes, to which he would dedicate a complete series of which these three photographs are part. Far from the conventions of fashion or decency, the photographer develops an experimental corpus that, pervaded by a certain eroticism, celebrates sensuality and particularly the sculptural beauty of the body with exuberant shapes. These appear the most often, as in the example, cut, deformed, abstracted, reified and enhanced.

This set of photographs was first shown by the Pinault Collection at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition held at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.