Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Double Portraits Reveal

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, 
oil on canvas, 20.2 x 24.3 in. (51.4 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  to R.L. Stevenson, his friend John S. Sargent, 1885 
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.3 
Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

This post is a continuation of August 2017 ArtWithHillary blog post Paint Into Words and Words Into Paint: Henry James Portrayed

In 1884 Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894), his wife Fanny (1840 - 1914) and his friends Henry James (1843 - 1916) and John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925) were all in Bournemouth, England, a seaside town in south England.

In the first decades of the nineteenth century,  Bournemouth evolved into a spa resort.  The attraction was the new popularity of sea bathing, believed to have health benefits. The town's appeal was further enhanced by the planting of hundreds of pine trees because pine air was thought to help those with lung disease, especially tuberculosis.  

The coming of rail transportation in 1870 increased the number of summer visitors along with the permanent population.  Writers and artists came to favor the place. For Stevenson, Bournemouth's medicinal attractions were particularly enticing.  He had suffered from lung disease and poor health his whole life, so he and his wife remained there until 1887.

Skerryvore Cottage, Bournemouth
Inscribed lower left: E. C. Rixotto 1898
Photograph:  Wikimedia Commons from the file: 
In 1885, Stevenson's father Thomas,  an engineer, purchased a home as a gift to his daughter-in-law.  Stevenson named the house Skerryvore after a famous lighthouse his father and brother had built off the coast of Scotland.  

The house served Stevenson's work well.  He completed Kidnapped and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  One of the first visitors to Skerryvore and a frequent guest thereafter was Henry James.  James had taken his invalid sister Alice for a few weeks to Bournemouth for her health. The writers first met there in the spring or early summer of 1885 but had corresponded previously. About a year earlier James had written a magazine article concerning the proper purpose of the novel. Stevenson published a positive response which prompted an exchange of letters between the two.**  A close friendship quickly developed.

Stevenson and Sargent knew each other through Stevenson's cousin, the painter R. A. M. Stevenson (1847 -1900) who was studying painting in Paris along with Sargent.  In 1874, on a visit to his painter cousin, R. L. Stevenson and  Sargent met and became friends.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Self-Portrait, 1886,
oil on canvas, 13.58 x 11.69 in. (35.5 x 29.7 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  John S. Sargent 1886

In 1885 Sargent was in Bournemouth seeking refuge from the scandal of his Madame X painting, a portrait which was ridiculed terribly after being shown in the Paris Salon. Concerned about commissions drying up, Sargent fled Paris for England seeking support from his friends. Stevenson was one he turned to.

Sargent painted three portraits of the writer at Skerryvore.  The first, from 1884, does not survive.  The second is the 1885 painting of Stevenson and his wife and, the third, is a 1887 portrait depicting the author in a wicker chair, casually smoking, looking as if he is caught mid-sentence.   Stevenson, despite his lung problems, was a chain smoker.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Robert Louis Stevenson, 1887, 
oil on canvas, 20.06 x 24.31 in. 50.96 x 61.75 cm)
Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati, Ohio
Photograph:  American Art Gallery Web site

The writer was an arresting figure said to have appealed to both men and women.  His good looks, lanky, almost too thin build and long, slender, expressive fingers were well captured by Sargent.  Andrew Lang (1844 - 1912), the critic writer, claimed Stevenson "...had the power of making other men fall in love with him."***  Sargent had told James that Stevenson "...seemed to be the most intense creature I have ever met."

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Detail of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, 
oil on canvas, 20.2 x 24.3 in. (51.4 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  to R.L. Stevenson, his friend John S. Sargent, 1885 
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.3 
Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

In the portrait with his wife, Stevenson is moving about, touching his mustache.  He reportedly had the habit of walking around while talking when he became excited.  Here he strides toward the left of the painting, away from his seated wife on the far right who is almost off the canvas.

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Detail of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, 
oil on canvas, 20.2 x 24.3 in. (51.4 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  to R.L. Stevenson, his friend John S. Sargent, 1885 
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.3 
Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

An earlier Sargent sketch, depicting the writer in a similar stance but in reverse, may have been the basis for the Stevenson in the final painting.

John Singer Sargent (1856 -1925), Two Sketches for a Portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson, Sketchbook Carnation/Lily, page 7 (recto), 1885,  charcoal, on off-white wove paper, 
9.75  x 13.63 in. (24.7 x 34.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper right corner, red-brown ink: 7
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, MA
Photograph:  American Art Gallery Web site

The double portrait is strange.  The husband and wife are separated by a three-quarter open door which leads to the home's dark entrance hall and steep staircase, creating a void between the couple.  

The room, which has been said to be the couple's dining room,  is lined with wooden paneling but sparsely furnished:  an oriental-designed rug, a blue armchair where Fanny is seated, two James Whistler-like framed artworks above her head; to the left, a wooden cabinet, perhaps a sideboard.   The roughly painted work has lost contrasts and details as its colors became translucent with age.  

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Detail of Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, 
oil on canvas, 20.2 x 24.3 in. (51.4 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  to R.L. Stevenson, his friend John S. Sargent, 1885 
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.3 
Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

Fanny, in an Indian sari with one bare foot revealed, is positioned in a counterpose.  Her upper body and head turn away from her husband. She looks off to her left. Her legs are crossed, left over right.  With a twist in her torso, her lower limbs and left arm, crossed over her legs, incline toward the left side of the canvas. Her lack of shoes may be a reference to a story that she went barefoot to London dinner parties. The sparks of reflected light on her sari, bangles and rings enliven the composition and echo the tiny glints in the darkened stairwell.  Fanny wrote to a friend that she had put on the dress to show Sargent and, "...he could not resist putting it into the picture."  The material's sparkle would have delighted Sargent who liked to dab his canvases with small flashes of radiance.  This was the period of the British Raj.   Queen Victoria became Empress of India in 1876 and Indian imports would have been easily available.

The armchair where Fanny sits was one that belonged to Stevenson's grandfather and he wrote in a  1885 letter that Henry James loved to sit in it.  Fanny wrote to her mother-in-law that same year, "Anybody may have a 'portrait of a gentleman' but nobody ever had one like this.  It is like an open box of jewels."  And to a friend she commented that the painting was "... a very insane, most charming picture of Louis and me...."  James saw the painting later that year and wrote to a friend that the work was "...very queer & charming."

The portrait is certainly uncommon but so was the romance between Stevenson and his wife.  Fanny was an American, ten years senior to her husband.  They met when Stevenson was 25 and she was 35.  At the time, she was a married women with two children.

Fanny Osbourne, at about the time of her first meeting with Robert Louis Stevenson,
c. 1876,
from Nellie Van de Grift Sanchez, The Life of Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson, London Chatto & Windus, 1920
Photographer Unknown,
Photograph:  Wikimedia Commons

Fanny had wed at sixteen to a man who turned out to be a restless philanderer.  In 1875, she left him, not the first time, and took her three children, a daughter and two sons, to Europe.   Fanny and her daughter Isobel had been studying art in San Francisco.  She wanted to continue their education at the Académie Julian in Paris, a famous private art school established by the painter Rudolph Julian.  In Paris, her youngest son became gravely ill and died in April 1876.  Under the encouragement of friends, Fanny and her two remaining children went to Grez-in-Loing, artists's summer retreat south of Paris, to recuperate from her loss. During her second trip to Grez in the summer, Stevenson's painter cousin was also in residence.  She, her daughter and the painter Stevenson became close friends.  When R. L. Stevenson also arrived in Grez that summer to visit his painter cousin, he, according to Fanny's sister, saw Fanny through an open window at an evening dinner party in the town's old inn.  It was love at first sight.

After a couple of years of transatlantic pursuit, Stevenson went after Fanny to California in 1879.  In May, 1880, they were married in San Francisco and that August sailed for Great Britain.  She was quite an adventurous woman.  Traveling with her first husband to mining towns, she reportedly learned how to shoot.  She had tried photography, made clothes, knew how to cook, rolled her own cigarettes and took up art with her daughter.  She acted as Stevenson's caregiver and, is said to have given invaluable advice to him on his work.  Her daughter acted as her stepfather's scribe when the author was too weak to do his own writing.  Like her mother, the daughter's second husband was a much younger man, twenty years her junior and may even have had an affair with her mother before she died.

Fanny and Stevenson were married some twenty years.  They traveled the world seeking a climate that would be helpful to Stevenson's hemorrhaging lungs and eventually took up residence in Samoa where Stevenson died.

As for the double portrait, some have suggested that Sargent wanted to express a disassociation  between the husband and wife.  Apparently her constructive comments could be harsh.  Stevenson called her "the violent friend."  Henry James spent time with the Stevensons and knew her probably more than Stevenson's other friends.  He always sent his regards to her in his letters to Stevenson but after his friend's death, he characterized her in derogatory terms as "barbarous," "a strange California wife."  Stevenson himself described Fanny at times as "weird," "uncanny," "insane."

The relationship was complex like all marriages.  Another aspect may be considered.  Sargent and James were very likely homosexuals.  They may have had some homoerotic feelings for the handsome, intriguing Stevenson.  This writer speculates that the separation that Sargent shows in his Stevenson double portrait, with Fanny sidelined,  may evince a desire by the painter for Stevenson. 

Sargent signed the work in the upper left corner in black paint:  To R. L. Stevenson, his friend J. S. Sargent, 1885.  The painting remained with Fanny and her daughter until 1914. That year, it was sold at auction to Helen Hay Whitney (Mrs. William Payne Whitney).  The work was in the Whitney family collections till 2004 when Steven A. Wynn, casino owner, purchased it at auction for 8.8 million dollars.  In 2005 it was acquired by the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas

By the way, an interesting example in Russia's State Hermitage Museum of a similarly divided portrayal is Conversation (1908 - 1912) by Henri Matisse (1869 - 1951).

Henri Matisse, (1869 - 1951), Conversation, 1908 - 1912, oil on canvas,
85.4 x 69.2 in. (217 x 177 cm), 
The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Photograph:  The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia Web site

Matisse painted himself and his wife Amelie in their summer country home.  She, on the right, in dark attire, perhaps a bathrobe, is seated upright in a blue armchair, regal as a queen.  The armchair does not appear to be upholstered emphasizing Amelie's erect pose.  Matisse, on the left, stands rigidly in pajamas imported from India which the painter liked to wear while working in his studio.  By their stance, the couple seem tense.    A window with a verdant countryside view separates them.  They look at each other.  She upward; he downward. They do not appear happy.  The cheerful curvy outdoors contrasts with the stiff  interior.  Over time, the relationship between Matisse and his wife deteriorated.  He would ultimately leave her for his model and companion Lydia Delectorskaya.  Perhaps the view represents the couple's blissful past.  

*This is an illustration from Jacqueline M. Overton, Robert Louis Stevenson For Boys And Girls, (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1915), 98 - 99.

**Please note the above blog post contains many quotes.  They are primarily from letters - friends writing to friends.  The nineteenth century was a great letter writing period, a pre-internet time.  Writing and receiving letters had become an essential part of everyday urban life. 

***From Andrew Lang's essay on Robert Louis Stevenson in the collection of his essays, Adventures Among Books, first published 1905.  This note is included because of its pertinence in explaining Stevenson's appeal.  The following is the complete paragraph containing the quote:

"Mr. Stevenson possessed, more than any man I ever met, the power of making other men fall in love with him. I mean that he excited a passionate admiration and affection, so much so that I verily believe some men were jealous of other men's place in his liking. I once met a stranger who, having become acquainted with him, spoke of him with a touching fondness and pride, his fancy reposing, as it seemed, in a fond contemplation of so much genius and charm. What was so taking in him? and how is one to analyse that dazzling surface of pleasantry, that changeful shining humour, wit, wisdom, recklessness; beneath which beat the most kind and tolerant of hearts?"


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Paint Into Words and Words Into Paint:

Henry James Portrayed

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Henry James (1843 - 1916), 1913,
oil on canvas, 33 1/2 x 2 1/2 in. (85.1 x 67.3 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  John S. Sargent; upper right:  1913
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK   
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

Portraits may tell us much about the person portrayed.  They are a collaboration of the artist/depicter and the sitter as well as  the viewer. They all bring their own sensitivities to the undertaking.  Success results in an understanding of the subject by the observer.  It is not an easy task.  The writer, Henry James (1843 - 1916) went so far as to claim, "There is no greater work of art than a great portrait," when writing about his friend, the painter John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925). James used the word portrait in the title of three of his works.

These musings and more came to me on a visit to the Morgan Library & Museum's exhibition, Henry James and American Painting.  The exhibit focuses on James's intense attraction and response to the visual arts as well as his close friendships with artists.  While still at Harvard, he had tried his hand at painting under the encouragement of the American multi-talented artist, John La Farge (1835 - 1910).    James's talents rested in other areas but the experience gave him a particular insight into the painterly art form.  He saw the close ties between the art of the novelist and the art of the painter.  James wrote in his 1884 work The Art of Fiction, "The analogy between the art of the painter and the art of the novelist is, so far as I am able to see, complete."

A highlight of the Morgan exhibit is James's relationship with Sargent. Although the writer was the painter's senior by thirteen years, the two had a great deal in common. Both were Americans who spent much time in Europe during their childhood (Sargent was born in Florence, Italy);  both were equally comfortable in England and on the continent; both were bachelors who enjoyed the company of fashionable women; and, both set down in their  specific mediums the goings and comings of  contemporary society.  They met in Paris in 1884, became good friends and remained so for more than thirty years.  They produced art which was intensely descriptive yet insightful.

In 1913, James's friends commissioned Sargent to paint the novelist's portrait on the occasion of his seventieth birthday.  Sargent who at the time had not painted portraits for some three or four years, was a bit concerned about the outcome.  His worry was unwarranted.  After about 10 sittings, James commented to his brother "...It is, I infer, a very great seems likely to be one of S's very fine things."  He would go on to write about the finished work, "Sargent at his very short a living breathing likeness and a masterpiece of painting."

The oil is an astute portrayal of the writer.  James's large, bald head beams intelligence.  His expression conveys the sensation of someone deep in thought.  Perhaps he is considering the social scene and his next novel.  His posture has an informal quality.  He is seated at an angle.  His right arm is bent about the chair's back.  His left thumb looped in his vest's left armhole.  
His posture conveys an ease of sociability.

The portrait does what portraits should do.  It imparts to the viewer information about the sitter which results in the perception of  knowing the person portrayed.  The sensation of familiarity can be enhanced in double portraits, particularly representations of husbands and wives. In such cases, viewers not only learn about the individuals but also gain a glimpse into the relationships of those represented.  Thus, another aspect of a sitter's personality is disclosed. 

John Singer Sargent (1856 - 1925), Robert Louis Stevenson and His Wife, 1885, 
oil on canvas, 20.2 x 24.3 in. (51.4 x 61.6 cm)
Inscribed, upper left:  to R.L. Stevenson, his friend John S. Sargent, 1885 
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2005.3 
Photography by Dwight Primiano.
Photograph:  Courtesy of The Morgan Library & Museum 

Sargent's portrait of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894) and his wife, Fanny Vandergrift Osbourne Stevenson (1840 - 1914), also in the Morgan exhibit, is an excellent example of the double portrait phenomenon.  The work was painted in 1885 and shows the couple in their home, Skerryvore, in Bournemouth, England. Bournemouth is a seaside town on the south coast off the English Channel.   Henry James was there too.  Why Bournemouth?

To learn the answer and more, read next month's ArtWithHillary. Meanwhile, please go see the show at the Morgan.

Henry James and American Painting
June 9 through September 10, 2017
225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street
Tuesday through Thursday: 10:30 am to 5 pm
Friday: 10:30 am to 9 pm
Saturday: 10 am to 6 pm
Sunday: 11 am to 6 pm
Closes at 4 pm on Christmas Eve and at 5 pm on New Year's Eve.
Closed Monday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Seeing The World Through Two Different Lenses:

Works of Henri Cartier-Bresson And Irving Penn 

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908 - 2004), An astrologer's shop in the mill workers' quarter of Parel Bombay
Maharashtra, India 1947, gelatin silver print,
13.78  x 20.67 in. (35 x 52.5 cm)
©Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos 
Think of the spectrum of photographic images from the candid to the posed.  The unposed shots are untouched by artifice - a slice of reality frozen in time.  The photographer looks and waits until he/she senses a picture is there.  The moment is seized.  The button pressed.  The shutter released.   The photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908 - 2004) called this the "decisive moment." No arranged positioning of models and clothing but life caught in all its actuality. Traveling throughout the world, he took pictures.  No matter where, in Mexico, India, China, Japan, Indonesia or Russia, Cartier-Bresson's eye was focused on capturing anything around him that he intuitively saw as an instant of pictorial worth.  

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Three Dahomey Girls, One Reclining,
1967, printed 1980, platinum-palladium print,
Image: 19 11/16 x 19 11/16 in. (50 x 50 cm.) Sheet: 22 x 24 15/16 in. (55.9 x 63.4 cm.) 
Mount: 22 x 26 in. (55.9 x 66 cm.) Overall: 22 x 26 in. (55.9 x 66 cm.)
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation 
IP .155

The working methodology of the photographer Irving Penn (American, 1917 - 2009) was quite different.  He chose to set up his subjects. Backdrops, studio and assistants were employed to make the photos he sought. Placement, garments and gestures were adjusted to indicate his specific point of view.  Penn seemed to leave very little to chance. Whether on location in Cuzco, Peru, New Guinea in the South West Pacific or Guelmim, Morocco on the edge of the Sahara, he set up a tent/studio complete with lighting enhancement equipment and attendants.  

These two dissimilar but equally effective photo taking strategies are illustrated in two New York City exhibitions:  Henri Cartier-Bresson: India In Full Frame at the Rubin Museum of Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Irving Penn: Centennial.  The shows not only give pleasure in viewing superb, informative pictures but also stimulate the consideration of  underlying beliefs that permeate the making of  these images.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908 - 2004), 
Gandhi dictates a message, just after breaking his fast Birla House
Delhi, India 1948, gelatin silver print,
13.78 x 20.67 in. (35 x 52.5 cm)
©Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

The Rubin Museum's exhibit displays Cartier-Bresson prints concerning India.  Many focus on Mahatma Gandhi and his funeral. In 1947 Henri Cartier-Bresson co-founded with Robert Capa and three other photographers the photo agency Magnum Photos.  Later that year, he made the first of six extended trips to India to document the major changes taking place in the aftermath of the country's independence from Britain.  

On January 30, 1948 Cartier-Bresson met with Gandhi and took some of the last pictures of him just before his assassination.  The photographs he made of Gandhi's funeral and the nation's outpouring of grief appeared in Life magazine.  They became one of the most acclaimed photojournalistic reports ever published.  

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908 - 2004), Gandhi's funeral. Crowds gathered between 
Birla House and the cremation ground, throwing flowers Delhi
India, 1948, gelatin silver print,
13.78 x 20.67 in. (35 x 52.5 cm) 
©Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

Rubin show also includes everyday scenes of life in various Indian states, politicians, refugees as well as magazines illustrated with Cartier-Bresson's work.  Cartier-Bresson was not interested in photographic equipment or the print making process.  He did not use aides such as tripods, reflectors or flash.  He relied on available light. He did not work in the darkroom.  He wanted his shots produced in full frame without cropping.  Black borders about prints indicate the whole negative was printed.  He sent his negatives directly to the editors.  He composed with his camera and what he shot was what was produced.

Henri Cartier-Bresson (French, 1908 - 2004), Kathakali dance drama. 
A guru teaches the stories of the Ramayana and the MahabharataCheruthuruthi
Kerala, India, 1950, gelatin silver print,
9.25 x 13.78 in. (23.5 x 35 cm) 
©Henri Cartier-Bresson/Magnum Photos

He rarely worked with color film.  The colors in nature, he held, were difficult to reproduce on a printed surface.  Furthermore, he thought color was hard to control and the film's speed limitations produced effects that displeased him. For Cartier-Bresson, life and movement were better caught using black-and-white film. 

One of Cartier-Bresson's Leica 35mm rangefinder cameras is on display.  The Leica with a 50mm lens was the photographer's inseparable companion.  He purchased his first one in 1932.  He wanted the smallest camera possible that was capable of photographic precision.  The Leica, hand-held, small and light, was easy to carry and conceal.  He would use black tape to cover the camera's shiny parts. Unnoticed, he could shoot pictures of people and they would not change their behavior knowing they were being photographed.  He was, above all, a photojournalist.  

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009), Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), 
Paris, 1950, printed 1980, platinum-palladium print,
Image: 19 7/8 x 19 11/16 in. (50.5 x 50 cm.) Sheet: 25 x 22 in. (63.5 x 55.9 cm.)
Mount: 26 1/8 x 22 in. (66.3 x 55.9 cm.) Overall: 26 1/8 x 22 in. (66.3 x 55.9 cm.)
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation 
IP .131           

Penn, on the other hand, needed to be noticed.  He was a photographer/director who set up all his scenes.  The show at the Metropolitan Museum is the most comprehensive Penn retrospective to date.  Organized by themes, in some 19 sections, the display makes manifest the depth and breadth of this photographer's artistry.

Like Cartier-Bresson, he studied art and obtained his first camera in the 1930s, a twin-lens Rolleiflex in 1938.  The exhibition opens with one of Penn's Rolleiflex cameras that he acquired in 1964. It is topped with a modified Hasselblad viewfinder and mounted on a tiltall attached to a table tripod of Penn's design. The Rolleiflex was Penn's camera of choice.  This sturdy instrument was difficult to hide. This was fine for Penn's technique of picture taking.  

Irving Penn On Location in Morocco, 1971, 8mm film footage, 
shot by Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in 1971, 
shows Irving Penn at work in his portable studio on location in Morocco.
On view at the exhibition, Irving Penn: Centennial*, 
April 24 - July 30, 2017, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Rolleiflex is held or placed at waist-level.  The photographer looks down into its viewfinder.  What is seen is exactly what you record the instant the shutter release button is pressed.  Although left to right is reversed, the image seen is upright.  Penn's and Cartier-Bresson's choice of cameras reflect two approaches to photo making.  

Irving Penn, (American, 1917–2009), Ingmar Bergman, Stockholm,
1964, printed 1992 Gelatin silver print,
Image: 15 1/16 x 14 15/16 in. (38.3 x 37.9 cm.) 
Sheet: 15 1/16 x 14 15/16 in. (38.3 x 37.9 cm.) 
Mount: 16 15/16 x 16 15/16 in. (43.1 x 43.1 cm.) 
Overall: 16 15/16 x 16 15/16 in. (43.1 x 43.1 cm.) 
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation 
IP .080

Penn's interest in equipment and printmaking was quite different from Cartier-Bresson's.  Penn worked with his negatives, manipulating exposures, experimenting with chemicals and making pictorial adjustments.  He was an outstanding craftsman and could produce a variety of quality prints from a single negative.  

Irving Penn (American, 1917–2009),  After-Dinner Games, New York,
1947, printed 1985, dye transfer print,
Image: 22 3/16 x 18 1/16 in. (56.4 x 45.8 cm) 
Sheet: 23 7/8 x 20 1/16 in. (60.6 x 50.9 cm) 
Overall: 23 7/8 x 20 1/16 in. (60.6 x 50.9 cm) 
Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation 

Unlike Cartier-Bresson, Penn worked well and comfortably with color film.  Although his work encompassed portraits, still lifes, exotic subjects, nudes and more, he is primarily known as a fashion photographer.  

These two photographers are giants in their fields yet each had a very different vision of how to make pictures.  You will leave the exhibitions thinking about their work and thinking about how you go about viewing.

*The following is the wall text for the At Work in Morocco, 1971 film footage, on exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of ArtIrving Penn: Centennial, April 24 - July 30, 2017: 
"This rare film footage of Penn at work inside his custom-made, portable tent studio was recorded by Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn in the Moroccan town of Guelmin; the sitters are members of the nomadic Tuareg peoples (Berbers). Most of the figures in indigo blue garments are guedras, or female dancers. Penn’s wife appears in a pink bandana."

**Due to popular demand, the Rubin Museum of Art's Henri Cartier-Bresson:  India In full Frame scheduled to close on September 4, 2017 was extended on August 1, 2017 until January 29, 2018.

Henri Cartier-Bresson:  India In Full Frame
April 21 - January 29, 2018**
150 West 17th Street, Manhattan
Monday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Thursday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
Friday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Saturday/Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Closed on Christmas, Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day.

Irving Penn: Centennial
April 24 - July 30, 2017
1000 Fifth Avenue, Manhattan
Sunday - Thursday 9 am - 5:30 pm
Friday and Saturday 10 am - 9 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, December 25, 
January 1, and the first Monday in May.