During a 1997 interview, no less a doyenne of the model agency business than Eileen Ford deemed Dorian Leigh 'truly the best model of our time.' Her legendary career, which began when Diana Vreeland put her directly on the cover of Harper's Bazaar in June, 1944, lasted until the 1960s, and she worked with all the great contemporary fashion photographers.
As the inscription indicates, at the time this holiday 1946 Vogue cover photograph was taken, Leigh had a close professional and warm personal relationship with Penn. With six Vogue covers to her credit in 1946 alone, Leigh was in great demand at the magazine. In addition to this cover, their fruitful partnership during this period in Penn's career yielded gems that included his series with the wrestler The Angel (Maurice Tillet), Twelve Beauties, and the Group Portrait of Vogue Photographers and Dorian Leigh, with Dorian almost at its center, shaded and barely visible behind the camera.
Interestingly, Penn's use of star entertainer Ray Bolger as Santa Claus in this photograph marked a man's first appearance on a Vogue cover.
This lot is accompanied by a letter of provenance from Dorian Leigh's daughter to the current owner, together with a fine copy of the December 15, 1946 issue of Vogue magazine, where this image, colorized, graces its cover.