- 09 Sep 2021 - 22 Dec 2021
- Editors’ Pick
A comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s oeuvre offers the opportunity to experience the breadth of Irving Penn’s artistic practice for the first time in over 30 years in Milan, Italy.
Spanning over two floors of exhibition space, the show explores Penn’s signature fashion photography and beyond, including a separate first floor solely dedicated to the artist’s work related to Italy. Presenting a remarkably diverse body of work stretching from the 1940s to the 1990s, this exhibition showcases photographs from nearly all chapters of Penn’s seminal artistic career.
Over the next sixty years, Penn photographed more than 150 covers for Vogue and produced thousands of ground-breaking editorials celebrated for their formal simplicity and use of natural light. Penn’s artistic contributions for Vogue formed an unprecedented legacy which, in the words of the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, “changed the way people saw the world and our perception of what is beautiful”. Breaking all conventions, Penn approached photography as an artist, expanding the medium’s creative potential at a time when the photograph was primarily understood as a means of communication.
The exhibition brings together remarkable masterpieces that situate Penn’s work in the context of various artistic, social, and political subjects. On display are some of his most iconic motifs, ranging from captivating portraits of celebrities and cultural groups, to imposing images of street debris and surreal still-lifes. On a constant quest for authenticity, IRVING PENNintroduces the artist as one who took inspiration from familiar objects, that sought beauty in environments of reduced noise and minimal aesthetic, resulting in a distilled visual language characterised by arresting elegance.
Irving Penn, Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950 © Condé Nast.