Irving Penn

Hamiltons Gallery represented Irving Penn and later his Foundation for over thirty years. The gallery still works closely with his pictures and has a number of works available from various collections. Irving Penn is one of the most important modern masters of photography. He has inspired future photographers of all genres with his portraits, still lifes and fashion pictures. He worked as a magazine photographer for Vogue and created numerous personal projects. His work forms significant parts of the world’s most renowned public and private photography collections.

<span class="title">Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950<span class="title_comma">, </span></span><span class="year">1984</span>
<span class="title">Woman with roses on her arm<span class="title_comma">, </span></span><span class="year">1950</span>
<span class="title">Girl behind bottle, New York<span class="title_comma">, </span></span><span class="year">1949</span>
Irving Penn
Black and White Vogue Cover (Jean Patchett), New York, 1950, 1984
Selenium toned gelatin silver print
17 1/4 x 15 1/8 in.
Edition of 16
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Although Penn had no intentions of becoming fashion photographer, Liberman believed that his clear and simple style would revolutionise the genre. Indeed, Penn refused to abide to fashion photography’s traditional mise-en-scène staging that prevailed in the 1950’s which used by other photographers such as Richard Avedon, Norman Parkinson and Cecil Beaton.


Instead, Penn shot images against a plain and minimalistic background, lit with clear and diffused natural light. By solely focusing on clothes or the models’ physical forms, his photographs allowed the viewer to render their full attention onto the photographed subject, various motifs and specific details. For Penn, less was always more.