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Irving Penn
Shop Window
Gelatin silver print

13 x 8 9/16 inches
© 1942 (renewed 1970) Irving Penn

J. Paul Getty Museum

Excerpt from J. Paul Getty Museum:

Irving Penn, (American, 1917 - 2009)
Shop Window, 1942


Inscr. ro. mount in ink: "to the Tanguys - Irving Penn, 1946" inscr. vo. mount in ink: "Photographed in Mexico 1942" wet stamp vo. mount twice: "Photograph by Penn" blindstamped.


I.C.P.: Wagstaff Collection (March 29 to May 12, 1985), International Center of Photography, (New York), March 29 to May 12, 1985

Photographs from the Sam Wagstaff Collection (November 15, 1985 to January 11, 1986), The Photographers Gallery, (London), November 15, 1985 to January 11, 1986


During the summers of 1937 and 1938, Irving Penn, then an art student in Philadelphia, worked at Harper’s Bazaar magazine as a gofer hoping to one day have his drawings included in the publication. To his surprise, the magazine did publish one of his drawings in 1937 the following year, Penn moved to New York after graduation and began a freelance career as a commercial artist. In 1943 he was hired as the art director’s assistant at Vogue magazine.

Having bought his first camera with money earned drawing shoes, Penn began to make photographs for the magazine. His first color photograph appeared on the cover of Vogue in 1943. During World War II, he took a leave of absence to join the American Field Service, where he volunteered as an ambulance driver and photographer, but he returned to Vogue after the war. He made his mark as a portraitist, creating spare, elegant images, primarily of fashion models and celebrities against seamless paper backdrops that focused on the sitter, not the setting. He has published many books of his images.


Irving Penn, American, (1917-2009)
b. June 16, 1917, Plainfield, NJ
d. 2009

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