“Celebrated for more than sixty years of masterly work at Vogue magazine, Irving Penn (1917–2009) was a superb photographer of style, but his attention to fashion was merely one aspect of his lifelong study of face and figure, attitude and demeanor, adornment and artifact. As his penetrating portraits reveal, Penn had few equals as an observer of human expression. He also had an acute graphic intelligence and a sculptor’s sensitivity to volumes in light. These talents came to the fore in his studies of the nude and in still life, a genre he favored throughout his career.
Penn considered photography merely the contemporary link in a vital chain of art history stretching back to Paleolithic times and encompassing the world’s many cultures. As his photographs extend those rich traditions into the present, it is fitting that The Irving Penn Foundation would mark the centenary of the artist’s birth with the extraordinary promised gift of most of the prints in this exhibition to the encyclopedic collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.” — Introductory Wall Text
“I myself have always stood in awe of the camera. I recognize it for the instrument that it is, part Stradivarius, part scalpel.” — Irving Penn
“To me personally, photography is a way to overcome mortality.” — Irving Penn
Installation photographs by Corrado Serra.
Irving Penn: Centennial is organized by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in collaboration with . The exhibition is co-curated by Maria Morris Hambourg, independent curator and the founding curator of The Met’s Department of Photographs, and Jeff L. Rosenheim, Joyce Frank Menschel Curator in Charge of the Department of Photographs at The Met.