Lot 36
  • 36

Irving Penn

40,000 - 60,000 GBP
50,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Irving Penn
  • 'Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris’, 1950
  • Silver print
  • Sheet 39.6 x 33.3 cm (15 ½ x 13 in.);
    card 50.8 x 44.5 cm (20 x 17 ½ in.)
Silver print, printed c. 1959, flush-mounted to card. Signed, titled, dated, initialled and annotated Print made before 1959 in black pen, with the photographer’s stamp, the copyright stamp dated 1950/Renewed 1978, and the ‘Signed silver prints of this negative not exceeding 7’ stamp on the reverse. Mounted.


Hamiltons Gallery, London


Sarah Greenough, Irving Penn: Platinum Prints, National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., 2005, ill. pl. 22;
Merry Foresta and Will Stapp, Irving Penn: Master Images, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1990, ill. pl. 28;
John Szarkowski, Irving Penn, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1984, ill. pl. 58;
Irving Penn, Passage: A Work Record, New York, 1991, ill. p. 81.

Catalogue Note

In July 1950, Vogue sent Penn to Paris to photograph the Fall couture collections. Clothes by the most coveted fashion houses were brought to Penn’s studio where he photographed the glamour against the backdrop of an old theatre curtain. Known for his pared-down style, Penn often photographed models in ordinary locations with natural lighting. Here, he has used the natural light of Paris to illuminate the subject against a backdrop that added an artistic feel. The photographs marked a rival in fashion photography that stemmed away from the staged and unnatural. Among the models, this particular work stood-out. It features Penn’s wife, model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing a mermaid dress by designer Marcel Rochas.  As Penn’s muse, just weeks after this photo was taken the pair were married.