Penn’s unquestionable mastery
The most comprehensive retrospective of the work of the great American photographer Irving Penn (1917–2009) is showing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the artist’s birth. In the course of a career spanning nearly 70 years, Penn mastered a pared-down form of studio photography that is distinguished by its meticulous attention to composition, nuance and detail. The collection includes fashion studies of Lisa Fonssagrives, the artist's wife; still-life compositions; portraits of urban labourers; female nudes; tribesmen in New Guinea; and studies of flowers in colour. The artist’s much-loved portraits of Truman Capote, Picasso, Colette, Ingmar Bergman and Issey Miyake are also on show.