Robert Koch Gallery: Irving Penn Portraits

May 31 – August 3, 2024
Opening Reception:
Saturday, June 1, 2-4 pm

Robert Koch Gallery proudly announces an exhibition of iconic portraits by the legendary photographer Irving Penn. Coinciding with Penn’s retrospective at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, this exhibition offers a glimpse into the work of one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century.
During his travels, Penn used a portable studio to capture images of indigenous people, resulting in his iconic portraits from Papua New Guinea, South America, and Africa. The gallery exhibition will feature some of his small vintage gelatin print portraits of Quechuan Indians from his 1948 trip to Cuzco, Peru, printed before he began producing platinum prints. Additionally, the exhibition will include a selection of platinum palladium prints of Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957/1973; Rock Groups, San Francisco (Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead), 1967/1980; Cuzco Children, Peru, 1948; Three Asaro Mudmen (New Guinea), 1970/1972; and Four Unggai Warriors (New Guinea), 1970/1972.Irving Penn’s portraits stand as timeless monuments to elegance, simplicity, and emotional depth. A master at capturing the essence of his subjects, whether through the stark simplicity of his fashion photography or the intimate, revealing nature of his portraits, Penn had a remarkable ability to convey emotion and narrative in a single frame. From celebrated cultural icons to anonymous individuals, each portrait tells a compelling story, inviting viewers to explore the intricate complexities of the human experience.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York organized Penn’s first retrospective in 1984, which subsequently traveled to over 14 countries. Numerous monographs have been published on Penn’s work, including Worlds in a Small Room (1980, Grossman Publishers), A Notebook at Random (2004, Bulfinch Press), The Small Trades(2009, J. Paul Getty Museum), and Irving Penn: Portraits (2010, National Portrait Gallery Publications). His work is featured in most major museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
GALLERY HOURS:Monday – Friday, 11 am – 5:30 pmSaturday,  2 pm – 5 pm
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Robert Koch Gallery · 49 Geary Street | Fifth Floor · San Francisco, CA 94108 · USA
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