'BLACK AND WHITE VOGUE COVER' (JEAN PATCHETT, NEW YORK)
platinum-palladium print, signed, titled, dated, editioned '2/34,' and annotated in pencil and stamped on the reverse, framed, 1950, printed in 1968
Overall 22½ by 19¾ in. (57.2 by 50.2 cm.)
This platinum-palladium print is in generally excellent condition. There is a very faint fingerprint in the lower right corner. There are several hinge remants and inactive adhesive residue on the reverse, as well as some scattered faint yellow areas.
On the reverse of the print, the annotations in pencil are: 'P427' [circled], 'Platinum-palladium / Print made 1968.' The stamps read 'Hand-coated by the photographer' and 'Deacidified to pH 8.5-9.5.' The edition stamp on the reverse indicates that in addition to the 34 numbered prints in platinum, there may also exist no more than 16 unnumbered, but signed, gelatin silver prints.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
'The Black and White Idea,' Vogue, 1 April 1950, cover
Irving Penn, Moments Preserved (New York, 1960), p. 159
John Szarkowski, Irving Penn (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1984), pl. 48
Irving Penn, Passage: A Work Record (New York, 1991), p. 100
Colin Westerbeck, ed., Irving Penn: A Career in Photography (The Art Institute of Chicago, 1997), pl. 4
Ned Rifkin, Chorus of Light: Photographs from the Sir Elton John Collection (Atlanta, 2000), p. 65
Sarah Greenough, Irving Penn: Platinum Prints (Washington, D. C.: National Gallery of Art, 2005), p. 11
Norberto Angeletti and Alberto Oliva, In Vogue: The Illustrated History of the World's Most Famous Fashion Magazine (New York, 2012), p. 129
cf. Maria Morris Hambourg and Jeff Rosenheim, Irving Penn: Centennial (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2017), pl. 38
The best of Irving Penn’s photographs demonstrate his extraordinary and unique ability to marry in one image editorial illustration, effective advertising, and arresting portraiture. The photograph offered here was first published on the cover of the April 1950 issue of American Vogue, as the lead illustration for its feature article, ‘The Black and White Idea.’ The succinct caption for the photograph reads, ‘Newest proof of a well-grounded adage: there is no colour more brilliant than black and white.’ With its simple yet potent use of clean lines, symmetry, and positive and negative space, Black and White Vogue Cover is one of the boldest, most innovative covers in the magazine’s history. It was not only Penn’s first monochromatic cover but also the first non-color Vogue cover in nearly twenty years. Over the course of his six decade career with the glossy, Penn’s photographs graced an additional 164 covers, more than any other artist in the magazine’s history.
The striking woman in this photograph is Jean Patchett (1926-2002), who, along with Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn (see Lots 21 and 46) and Dovima (see Lot 20), was one of the most photographed models of the late 1940s and 1950s. She was featured on more than 40 magazine covers for Vogue, Glamour, and Harper’s Bazaar and worked with the most inventive fashion photographers of the day, including Cecil Beaton, Erwin Blumenfeld, Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Horst P. Horst, and, of course, Penn. 'He gave me stories to play act with every picture we did. I could be in front of a piece of white paper in a studio and he would say, OK, now you're out on Fifth Avenue and you can't get a cab. Or we are at the opera and my gentleman friend has gone to get me an orangeade and hasn't come back and I can't find him and I'm looking all over the place. Mr. Penn gave me all these little stories. And it was really fun' (quoted in In Vogue, p. 147).
Patchett's sessions with Penn resulted in some of today’s most instantly recognizable fashion photographs. In the present image, Patchett models a satin-striped silk organdy coat-dress by Larry Aldrich and stares out from beneath a Lilly Daché round level hat, the trademark mole next to her right eye camouflaged by a sea of birdcage veil netting.