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Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty conveys the extraordinary breadth and legacy of the work of this influential American artist, whose renown as a fashion photographer is matched by the recognition of his innovative and insightful portraits, still lifes, nudes, and travel photographs. The first retrospective of Penn’s work in nearly 20 years, the exhibition contains more than 140 photographs from the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s collection, including the debut of 100 photographs recently donated by The Irving Penn Foundation and several previously unseen or never-exhibited photographs. The exhibition features work from all stages of Penn’s career, including street scenes from the late 1930s, photographs of the American South from the early 1940s, celebrity portraits, fashion photographs, and more intimate studio images. Highlights of the exhibition include Penn’s stunning late color work. 

Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty is organized by the Smithsonian American Art Museum with generous support from ART MENTOR FOUNDATION LUCERNE, Sakurako and William Fisher, The William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment Fund, The Lauder Foundation—Leonard and Judy Lauder Fund, Edward Lenkin and Roselin Atzwanger, The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation, Margery and Edgar Masinter, The Margery and Edgar Masinter Exhibitions Fund, the James F. Petersen Charitable Fund in honor of Tania and Tom Evans, The Bernie Stadiem Endowment Fund, and the Trellis Fund. The C. F. Foundation in Atlanta supports the museum’s traveling exhibition program, Treasures to Go.

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Irving Penn. Woman in Moroccan Palace
Irving Penn. Woman in Moroccan Palace (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Marrakech, 1951, printed 1969. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. © Condé Nast
Irving Penn. Salvador Dali, New York, 1947.
Irving Penn. Salvador Dali, New York, 1947. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist. © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn. Mouth (for L’Oréal)
Irving Penn. Mouth (for L’Oréal), New York, 1986, printed 1992. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation
Irving Penn: Beyond Beauty

919 Broadway
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