Lot 78
  • 78

Irving Penn

180,000 - 230,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Irving Penn
  • 'Mouth (For L'Oreal), New York', 1986
Dye-transfer print, printed 1992. Signed, titled and dated, with the photographer's stamp, the copyright stamp inscribed 1986, the edition stamp 'Not exceeding 28' initialled and the printing date stamp inscribed 1992 on the reverse. Framed.


Hamiltons Gallery, London


Irving Penn, Passage. A work record, London, Jonathan Cape/ New York, Callaway, 1991, ill. p. 261.

Catalogue Note

Irving Penn’s portrayal of the female lips, a common symbol of beauty and the clichés of the fashion world, marks the artist’s legacy in creating timelessly elegant photographs that captured unexpected and surreal beauty. Smeared with numerous shades of lipstick, the lips appear to mimic a painter’s palette. The model’s somewhat ironic pout suggests that Penn aimed to mock the frontiers of traditional ‘perfect beauty’ presented by beauty brands , particularly as undercurrents of the darker side of surrealism appear with the smothering effect created by the various shades of lipsticks, as if the model’s lips have been stitched shut.

Penn’s technical skill combined with his ability to portray philosophical beauty earned him his place as one of the first photographers to bring artistic sensibility to the medium.