• Three Decades with Irving Penn auction at Christies

    Sale 2397

    Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe

    14 April 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 45

    IRVING PENN (1917-2009)

    Vionnet Dress with Fan, 1977

    Price Realised  


    IRVING PENN (1917-2009)
    Vionnet Dress with Fan, 1977
    platinum-palladium print, flush-mounted on aluminum, printed 1978
    signed, initialed, titled, dated, numbered '35/37', '1817', inscribed 'Merry Christmas with love to Pat 1979' in pencil, copyright credit reproduction limitation and edition stamps (on the reverse of the flush-mount)
    21 1/8 x 19 5/8in. (54 x 50.4cm.)

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    Pre-Lot Text

    When I saw Diana Vreeland's show for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The 10s, 20s, 30s, I felt a thrill I had not as a fashion photographer known before. A luxurious clothes-world had once existed (and not so long at that), apparently without concern for cost, where it seemed no material was too expensive to use, no amount of labor too dear to employ, no designer's fantasy too extravagant to realize.

    For personal pleasure, I wanted to study these clothes on the ground glass of a camera, and as a practical matter the thought of making a book of the resulting pictures came to mind.
    Irving Penn


    Penn and Vreeland, Inventive Paris Clothes 1909-1939, The Viking Press, 1977, cover and p. 53; Szarkowski, Irving Penn, The Museum of Modern Art, 1984, pl. 123; Penn, Passage: A Work Record, Alfred A. Knopf Callaway, 1991, p. 215; Westerbeck, ed., Irving Penn: A Career in Photography, Art Institute of Chicago Little, Brown and Co., 1997, cat. no. 116, p. 183; Greenough, Irving Penn: Platinum Prints, National Gallery of Art Yale University Press, 2005, pl. 68

    Post Lot Text

    Diana Vreeland evokes Madeleine Vionnet in her text to accompany Mr Penn's pictures: 'Hers was the spirit of a great artist. "Remember," she said, "I never made fashions, I never saw fashion, I don't know what fashion is. I made the clothes I believed in." And that was true, for Vionnet was not a trend setter. No one ever copied her - because no one ever could.' (Inventive Paris Clothes, p. 36)

    This image presents 'An ice-blue crepe-back satin dinner dress, bias cut, with draped surplice line at the back ending in bow and streamers. A very snappy dress, the back and the skirt are draped to the body. (1925-26)'