Women with Roses, Irving Penn, Platinum/Palladium Print Auction

February 11, 2014

Women with Roses, Irving Penn, Multi-Layer Platinum Palladium Print, 1977

I was recently contacted by ArtNet in relation to an upcoming auction of one of Penns most famous and sought after platinum prints ‘Women with Roses’. It happens to be a favourite of mine and occasionally have been able to view it in person on trips to Paris Photo. It was created in 1977 as a multilayer Platinum/Palladium print on Bienfeng 360 mounted on aluminum, suffice to say the print is stunning. The email gave some further detail about the image and an insight into its estimated current value.

‘I want to bring your attention to a highlight of our Focus on Fashion sale: a rare platinum-palladium print of Irving Penn’s Woman with Roses on Her Arm, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn (1950), estimated at US$250,000-300,000.

One of Penn’s most sought-after images, this portrait of fashion model Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn wearing a La Faurie dress was taken in Paris the year she and Penn were married. Penn used very little in the way of props or elaborate sets in his photographs, preferring to let the subject’s personality own the shot. Against the mottled grey backdrop, Lisa’s silhouette is powerful in its simplicity, and her stance exudes a confident glamour.The dress, by French couturiere Jean LaFaurie, drapes elegantly over Lisa’s slim frame, the slightly sheer fabric accentuating her legs.

Penn’s Women with Roses is a series of angles and diagonals, which reinforce the elegance of the composition. The arch of her eyebrows is echoed in the tilt of her right wrist and hand, which is diagonally balanced by the fabric draped behind her.The triangle of skin on her side is framed by her bent left elbow, which then draws the eye down her leg to her bent knee.Reinforcing the triangular theme, a group of three white roses adorn her arm.’

Further information can be found here

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