Penn, Irving

(1917- )
   Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, Penn studied under Alexey Brodovitch (art director of Harper's Bazaar) at the Philadelphia Museum School, and he graduated in 1938. Although he would go on to make his name as a photographer, it was his drawings and paintings that first caught the attention of Harper's Bazaar, which led to freelance work as an assistant art director at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1937. He was hired in 1943 by Vogue magazine where his photography career blossomed and continues even today. Penn has had more than 170 Vogue covers and has taken hundreds of portraits of celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Igor Stravinsky, Georgia O'Keefe, Martha Graham, Salvador Dali, and Hubert Humphrey. He is most famous for his austere backgrounds, usually a simple grey or white. The simplicity of the backdrop allows the subject to become the focal point of the picture. Positioning his subjects into corners was another way for him to capture their essence and to direct the viewer's eye to the subject's expression. This technique became known as Penn's "corner portraits" (1948-1949). Penn's style is characterized by his careful use of light and his clarity of composition and form. This style was to prevail consistently in his fashion photography and portrait and ethnographic work.
   In 1950, Penn married his favorite model, Lisa Fonssagrives (1911-1992), with whom he would open a studio and collaborate. In 1960, Penn published his first book, Moments Preserved, which documented the best ten years of his fashion photography and, in 1961, Penn created a series of photographic essays for Life magazine. In 1964, he refined new photographic processes utilizing precious metals, iridium, platinum, and palladium. The results produced exhibition quality photographs that were shown in a solo exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2002 and at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., in 2005. Penn's other published works include Irving Penn Regards the Work of Issey Miyake (1999), Still Life (2001), Drawings (1999), A Notebook at Random (2004), and Photographs at Dahomey (2004). He resides in New York City and is a regular contributor to Vogue magazine.

Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry. .

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  • PENN, IRVING — (1917– ), U.S. photographer. Born in Plainfield, N.J., Penn studied at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art, graduating in 1938. He is best known for his aristocratic fashion photography, but he is also a master of portraiture and… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Penn, Irving — born June 16, 1917, Plainfield, N.J., U.S. U.S. photographer. He aspired to be a painter but at 26 took a job designing photographic covers for Vogue and soon was established as a fashion photographer. His austere fashion images communicated… …   Universalium

  • Penn, Irving — (n. 16 jun. 1917, Plainfield, N.J., EE.UU.). Fotógrafo estadounidense. Aspiraba a ser pintor, pero a los 26 años de edad tomó un trabajo como diseñador de portadas fotográficas para Vogue y muy pronto se estableció como fotógrafo de modas. Sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • PENN (I.) — PENN IRVING (1917 ) Photographe américain, Irving Penn est né dans le New Jersey en 1917. Formé à l’école d’Alexis Brodowitch, il commença par étudier le dessin et la peinture et fut directeur artistique d’un grand magasin new yorkais en 1940,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Penn — may refer to:PlacesEngland*Penn, Buckinghamshire *Penn, West MidlandsUnited States*Penn, North Dakota *Pennsylvania **Penn, Pennsylvania *Penn Lake Park, Pennsylvania *Penn Township, several municipalitiesEducation* University of Pennsylvania,… …   Wikipedia

  • Penn — ist der Name folgender Orte: Penn (Buckinghamshire), England Penn (West Midlands), England Penn ist auch der Familienname folgender Personen: Alexander G. Penn (1799–1866), US amerikanischer Politiker Arthur Penn (1922–2010), US amerikanischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Penn — Penn, Arthur * * * (as used in expressions) Penn, Irving Penn, William Rogers, Will(iam Penn Adair) Warren, Robert Penn …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Irving Penn — Infobox Person name = Irving Penn birth date = birth date and age|1917|6|16 spouse = Lisa Fonssagrives (1950 1992) children = Tom PennIrving Penn (born 16 June 1917) is an American photographer known for his portraiture and fashion… …   Wikipedia

  • Irving Penn — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Penn. Irving Penn (né le 6 juin 1917 dans le New Jersey mort le 7 octobre 2009 dans son appartement new yorkais)[1] est un photographe américain, considéré comme un très grand photographe de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Penn, Arthur — ▪ American film director in full  Arthur Hiller Penn   born Sept. 27, 1922, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.       American motion picture and theatre director whose films are noted for their critical examination of the darker undercurrents of American… …   Universalium

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