Sitting Man with Pink Face, New Guinea, 1970


Platinum-palladium print, flush-mounted on aluminum

52.3 x 49.2 cm

During his many travels, Irving Penn visited New Guinea in 1970. Cultivating an interest for tribal cultures, he visited Aboriginal populations. A series of portraits of great restraint bear witness to his encounters.

Despite the distance from his New York studio, here the photographer used again his technique of a neutral canvas background defining a decontextualised space in order to give his photographic subjects a powerful physical presence. Regardless of their social status, warriors, dancers and young women from different tribes are represented in their traditional or ceremonial garb in a strong sculptural dimension.

Acquired by the Pinault Collection, some photographs of this series made in New Guinea were presented to the public at the 2015-2016 “Irving Penn, Resonance” solo exhibition, held at the Palazzo Grassi, Venice.