Gelatin silver print. Early Print

24.4 x 19.6 cm (9 5/8 x 7 11/16 in.)

Before becoming famous, the young Irving Penn was commissioned for a series of photographs of celebrities of New York’s artistic and cultural scene by Alexander Liberman, artistic director of Vogue. The young photographer could not choose his models, but on the other hand he enjoyed total freedom in terms of staging.

Thus, in the two years between 1947 and 1948, his studio was visited by the greatest artists, actors and filmmakers of the time. According to the assumptions of an unusual austere decor, often constraining for the model and close-up takes, highlighting the physiognomy of the subject, the essential aesthetics developed by Irving Penn would become his trademark for the rest of his work.

A number of photographs included in this series that launched the photographer’s career are held by the Pinault Collection. They were grouped and presented at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.