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Les Franciscaines : Irving Penn : Masterpieces from the MEP Collection


For the first time in France, Les Franciscaines presents the entire collection of photographs by Irving Penn from the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris.

A major author of 20th century photography, Irving Penn produced from the end of the 1940s a work that marked the world of fashion. With 109 works, the exhibition also explores his incredible gallery of portraits, nudes, and a lesser-known part of his work, still lifes.

The exhibition takes us on a discovery of the artistic journey of Irving Penn (1917-2009).

All Penn’s series are represented there: from the first photographs taken in the streets of New York or in the southern United States, to the “Small Trades”, through the portraits of personalities from the art world photographed in New York or in Europe, ethnographic portraits taken around the world, or even fashion photos, including those of his wife, the top model Lisa Fonssagrives.

An exhibition in partnership with the MEP.

A unique opportunity to discover more than 100 photographs representative of the photographer’s entire work from 1939 to 2007.

Irving Penn is one of the tutelary figures around which the MEP photography collection was built. Very close to the institution since its creation in the 1990s, Penn placed his trust in it throughout his life and encouraged the creation of a unique ensemble.

Penn was an outstanding creator but also a demanding technician for whom photographic printing was of paramount importance. He experimented a lot in the laboratory, in particular with the platinum printing process, reviving from 1964 a 19th century technique which fascinated him with its infinite possibilities, its exceptional tones and the depth conferred on the image.


Exhibition curators:
Pascal HOËL, Head of Collections at the MEP Frédérique DOLIVET, Assistant to the Head of Collections


Irving Penn: Masterpieces from the MEP Collection
March 4 – May 28, 2023
Les Franciscaines
145b Av. de la République
14800 Deauville, France

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