Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

Irving Penn

Irving Penn

Photography

Nationality: American

Birth Place: Plainfield (Union county, New Jersey, United States)

Biography:
Unlike other American photographers who choose a specific photographic genre, Irving Penn was the ultimate master of understated, eclectic style photography. His photos, like works of art, cause the viewer to study the depths to which Irving Penn emphasized style in fashions and with his celebrity subjects. He preferred a modernistic approach to his photography, often choosing backdrops of unusual distraction vs. his highlighted subject.

Irving Penn was a sought after fashion photographer for the prestigious fashion magazine, "Vogue." However, the early years of his career were limited to commercial photography for a broad range of clients in cosmetics, the food and fragrance industry and top names in jewelry and haute couture. Born in 1917 in Plainfield, a humble central New Jersey town, Irving Penn first studied at the Philadelphia Museum School. His intention was to photograph commercial and industrial subjects. Later, he opted for a freelance career and a position with Saks Fifth Avenue. He was drawn to photographing for the fashion world. At the midpoint of his career, he gravitated to photographing nudes to increase his talent for capturing the vagaries of the human body in its most natural form. His work became recognized as photo art. Before the advent of digital photography, Penn, like many photographers, experimented with various techniques for developing photos. These experiments allowed Penn's photos to take on an entirely new appearance in final form.

In addition to his busy photographic career, Penn's photography was exhibited at some of the US's most prestigious museums and galleries. Today, his collections value in the millions.

 

Irving Penn Original Art Values Sold at Auction

Item Realized
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Harlequin Dress, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 1950 Platinum-palladium, 1979 20-3/4 x 19
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Harlequin Dress, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, 1950 Platinum-palladium, 1979 20-3/4 x 19 ...
Lot 74083
Auction 5060
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
$131,450
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Woman in Dior Hat with Martini (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1952 Gelatin silver, 1984
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Woman in Dior Hat with Martini (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 1952 Gelatin silver, 1984 ...
Lot 74082
Auction 5060
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
$56,762.50
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Three Tulips: Red Shine, Black Parrot, Gudoshnik, New York, 1967 Dye-transfer, 1987
IRVING PENN (American, 1917-2009) Three Tulips: Red Shine, Black Parrot, Gudoshnik, New York, 1967 Dye-transfer, 1987...
Lot 74155
Auction 5037
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
$50,787.50
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Portrait of Khawaja Nazimuddin, his wife, Allene Talmey, the Nawab Begum, and the Nawa...
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Portrait of Khawaja Nazimuddin, his wife, Allene Talmey, the Nawab Begum, and the Nawab...
Lot 73277
Auction 5298
Friday, May 19, 2017
$2,000.00
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Portrait of Frank Crowninshield, 1947 Gelatin silver 7-3/8 x 7 inches (18.7 x 17.8
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Portrait of Frank Crowninshield, 1947 Gelatin silver 7-3/8 x 7 inches (18.7 x 17.8 ...
Lot 73236
Auction 5298
Friday, May 19, 2017
$1,875.00

View prices realized on more items like this

PLEASE NOTE: All prices realized reflect the final hammer price PLUS the buyer's premium in auctions that charge a buyer's premium. Each item has a notation at the top of the listing indicating whether that lot included a buyer's premium. All information listed is intended to be as accurate as possible, but errors are possible. Please use this guide carefully and inform us of any inaccuracies.



Buy Irving Penn

ItemCurrent Bid or Price
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) John Marin, 1947 Platinum-palladium, 1972 21-1/4 x 15-1/2 inches (54.0 x 39.4 cm)
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) John Marin, 1947 Platinum-palladium, 1972 21-1/4 x 15-1/2 inches (54.0 x 39.4 cm) ...
Lot 73033
Auction 5358
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
$4,000.00
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Hell's Angel: Doug, 1967 Platinum-palladium, 1976 19-1/2 x 20 inches (49.5 x 50.8 c
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Hell's Angel: Doug, 1967 Platinum-palladium, 1976 19-1/2 x 20 inches (49.5 x 50.8 c...
Lot 73036
Auction 5358
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
$6,000.00
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Guedras in the Wind, Morocco, 1971 Platinum-palladium, 1978 17-1/2 x 17-1/2 inches
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Guedras in the Wind, Morocco, 1971 Platinum-palladium, 1978 17-1/2 x 17-1/2 inches ...
Lot 73057
Auction 5358
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
$15,000.00
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948 Platinum-palladium, flush-mounted to aluminum...
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Cuzco Children, Peru, December, 1948 Platinum-palladium, flush-mounted to aluminum, ...
Lot 73058
Auction 5358
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
$50,000.00
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Improvised Device for Holding Cable Release, 1964 Gelatin silver 7-5/8 x 7-5/8 inch
Irving Penn (American, 1917-2009) Improvised Device for Holding Cable Release, 1964 Gelatin silver 7-5/8 x 7-5/8 inch...
Lot 73154
Auction 5358
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
$1,500.00

View other current items from this artist

 

Art Values

How do you know what's valuable?

Our Art Value Guide provides free information about how to value your Irving Penn artwork.


Get a FREE auction evaluation

Our experts will evaluate your Irving Penn artwork for auction or private treaty sale.


Want More Irving Penn?

Be the first to know when more items from this artist are available by adding it your wantlist.


Interested in selling or consigning?

Learn more about selling or consigning your Irving Penn artwork with Heritage Auctions.


Other artists with this Nationality