Pablo Picasso (1 of 6), Cannes, France


Platinum print

19 11/16 x 19 1/2 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.

Irving Penn showed up at Picasso’s house in 1957 for a scheduled session at his villa La Californie in Cannes. The Spanish artist was uncooperative, pretending not to be there, until Irving Penn’s assistant spotted him, after climbing the gates of the property. Pablo Picasso gave the photographer only ten minutes. As he played at draping himself in a cape and hat, Irving Penn watched his model and managed to capture the essence and complexity of the fiery painter. This close-up portrait, which nevertheless revealed only part of the artist’s face, delivered with striking accuracy the profound intensity of the Picasso legend, and was already helping to shape that of its author.

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