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Palo Alto

Irving Penn

Past
Apr 11–May 26, 2019

In 1967 armed with a Rolleiflex, Irving Penn came to San Francisco.

He rented a building in Sausalito that allowed him to photograph under plenty of northern light, with beams strong enough to bear the weight of the Hell’s Angels’ motorcycles.

Exhibition Details

Irving Penn
Apr 11 – May 26, 2019

Gallery

229 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto
Tues – Sat, 11 AM – 7 PM
Sun, 11 AM – 5 PM

This studio—like countless studios Penn used over the course of his career—became a neutral space where the photographer and subject could focus on the task at hand to capture individual expression. Photographing them in his signature smooth pared-down style, Irving Penn brought equal consideration and expertise into his work with young hippie couples, motorcyclists, and radical nude dancers as he did with celebrated actors, artists, and luminaries of his time. Decades later, Pace Gallery is honored to bring the work of Irving Penn to the San Francisco Bay Area.

"In 1967 there was word coming out of San Francisco of something stirring—new ways of living that were exotic even for California. People spoke of a new kind of young people called hippies, and of an area where they had begun to congregate called Haight-Ashbury. They seemed to have found a satisfying new life for themselves in leaving the society they were born to and in making their own. … It grew on me that I would like to look into the faces of these new San Francisco people through a camera in a daylight studio, against a simple background, away from their own daily circumstances. I suggested to the editors of Look magazine that they might care to have such a report. They said yes—hurry.”—Irving Penn, Worlds in a Small Room, (Grossman, 1974) 50

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Irving Penn

Irving Penn was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. From 1934–38, he studied design with Alexey Brodovitch at the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Art. Following a year painting in Mexico, he returned to New York City and began working at Vogue magazine in 1943, where Alexander Liberman was art director.

Penn photographed for Vogue and commercial clients in America and abroad for nearly 70 years. Whether an innovative fashion image, striking portrait or compelling still life, each of Penn’s pictures bears his trademark style of elegant aesthetic simplicity.

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Palo Alto — Irving Penn, Apr 11–May 26, 2019