CULTURE

A Preview of Irving Penn’s Magnificent Career Retrospective at the Met

When shooting his first celebrity portraits, in the 1940s, Irving Penn put Salvador Dalí, Georgia O’Keeffe, and others in a tight corner, literally, by positioning them at the center of two angled screens in his studio. “He liked what happened psychologically to each person when they entered his space,” says Jeff Rosenheim, a co-curator of “Irving Penn: ­Centennial,” a sweeping survey devoted to the late photographer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, opening Thursday (through July 30). “His corner portraits push the personality of the subject forward.” On view will be more than six decades’ worth of Penn’s boldly economical fashion photographs, fleshy nudes, and portraits of the Quechua people, along with his monumental still lifes—all shot in his minimal setups. Adds Rosenheim, “Rather than hide the language of the studio, Penn wanted the viewer to see the artifice of it.”

1
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Truman Capote, New York, 1948.

2
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1948

3
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957

4
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Cigarette No. 37, New York, 1972

5
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Deli Package, New York, 1975

6
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Single Oriental Poppy, New York, 1968

7
© Condé Nast

After-Dinner Games, New York, 1947

8
© Condé Nast

Cuzco Children, 1948

9
© Condé Nast

Girl Drinking (Mary Jane Russell), New York, 1949

10
© Condé Nast

Glove and Shoe, New York, 1947

11
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Nude No. 72, New York, 1949–50

12
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Ingmar Bergman, Stockholm, 1964

13
© Condé Nast

Fishmonger, London, 1950

14
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Naomi Sims in Scarf, New York, ca. 1969

15
© Condé Nast

Ungaro Bride Body Sculpture (Marisa Berenson), Paris, 1969

16
© Condé Nast

Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950

17
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Three Asaro Mud Men, New Guinea, 1970

18
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Three Dahomey Girls, One Reclining, 1967

19
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Tribesman with Nose Disc, New Guinea, 1970

20
© The Irving Penn Foundation

Two Miyake Warriors, New York, 1998