Artists of dif­fer­ent worlds and times with a com­mon fo­cus on in­no­va­tion

The Washington Post Sunday - - THIS WEEK - BY ROGER CATLIN

Two ma­jor ex­hi­bi­tions open this week from artists of dif­fer­ent cen­turies and hemi­spheres whose in­no­va­tive styles set them apart. Each was mod­estly born — one in New Jer­sey, the other in Ky­oto — but rose to be­come so­phis­ti­cated lead­ers of their art forms, min­gling with top artists and aris­to­crats of their days, blend­ing

ex­quis­ite touches and sim­ple de­signs. Much more is known about the 20th­cen­tury Amer­i­can pho­tog­ra­pher Irv­ing Penn than the 17th­cen­tury Ja­panese artist So­tatsu. If not quite a house­hold name, Penn’s work is more fa­mil­iar, if only be­cause his most cel­e­brated sub­ject mat­ters, — fash­ion and celebrity — are still so lauded by con­tem­po­rary au­di­ences, while

even se­ri­ous art lovers may just be learn­ing about So­tatsu. The two, how­ever, stand up to com­par­i­son.

FREER GALLERY OF ART

IRV­ING PENN FOUNDATION

TOP: Po­ems from the Kokin­shu An­thol­ogy are il­lus­trated by So­tatsu, a 17-cen­tury Ja­panese artist. ABOVE: Irv­ing Penn’s “Mouth (for L’Oreal)” and “Tru­man Capote” are ex­am­ples of the artist’s fash­ion pho­tog­ra­phy and so­phis­ti­cated por­traits that graced mag­a­zine spreads such as Vogue.

IRV­ING PENN FOUNDATION

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