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The MEP announces a transformative acquisition of works by Irving Penn


The MEP acquires 46 iconic works by Irving Penn—one of the twentieth century’s most important photographers, respected equally in the fields of fashion, portraiture and still life. Bolstering one of the most extensive collections of Irving Penn in a European institution, this landmark acquisition of works—selected jointly by the MEP team and The Irving Penn Foundation—will complete the institution’s collection, permitting the MEP to offer a curated retrospective exhibition for touring purposes in Europe and beyond. While some of the artist’s series had already been well represented in the MEP collection (including key works in fashion, the nude, classic portraits and iconic works like The Hand of Miles Davis), other important bodies of work had been absent or only represented by individual works. This new acquisition will result in a comprehensive and holistic overview of Penn’s work and career comprising 109 works from 1939- 2007. The selection includes rare vintage prints of some of Penn’s earliest photographs—made between 1939-41 in New York, the Southern United States and in Mexico—which reveal his early interest in vernacular subjects and precise documentary style....

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