Reg Butler


Silver print

10 7/16 × 10 3/8 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.

This portrait depicts Reg Butler (1913-1981), the British sculptor and educator. Butler began his career as an architect, teaching architecture at the Architectural Association School in the early 1940s. He made his first sculpture in 1947, when he began working as an assistant to Henry Moore. His figures mix organic forms and rigid, industrially inspired structures. They evoke Hans Bellmer’s deconstructed bodies as well as the soft roundness of his mentor’s figures. Reg Butler represented the United Kingdom at the 1952 Venice Biennale, along with Kenneth Armitage and Lynn Chadwick.

This photograph was shown for the first time by Pinault Collection in 2023 during the exhibition “Irving Penn, Artists' Portraits”, Villa Les Roches Brunes, Dinard.