Two country children, a brother and sister, dressed for a visit to Cuzco. The piano stool tells something of their tiny size.
Penn, Moments Preserved, Simon and Schuster, 1960, pp. 98-99; Penn, Worlds in a Small Room, Grossman, 1974, p. 13; Irving Penn photographs in platinum metals - images 1947-1975, Marlborough Fine Art Ltd, 1977, cat. no. 78; Szarkowski, Irving Penn, The Museum of Modern Art, 1984, pl. 59; Penn, Passage: A Work Record, Alfred A. Knopf Callaway, 1991, p. 61; Westerbeck, ed., Irving Penn: A Career in Photography, Art Institute of Chicago Little, Brown and Co., 1997, cat. no. 37, p. 177; Greenough, Irving Penn: Platinum Prints, National Gallery of Art Yale University Press, 2005, pl. 15
Post Lot Text
Irving Penn had chosen to stay on in Peru and spend Christmas 1948 in Cuzco, after a fashion shoot for Vogue in Lima. In this remote mountain town he took over the local photographer's studio and made a set of portraits that initiated a series that was to take him all over the world in the years to come, recording with an anthropologist's curiosity and an artist's acuity the peculiarities in self-presentation of individuals or groups representing numerous distinct cultures. He posed his subjects very simply against a neutral backdrop, with no attempt to conceal the character of this archaic yet timeless studio location; he worked with the soft diffused daylight in which he delighted and that so gently sculpted his subjects - and he defined a standard that was to characterise so much of his work in the decades to come. His tender, emblematic study of these Cuzco children has become one of Mr Penn's best known and best loved images.