Bids were flying thick and fast in Essex recently when a photograph by the American photographer Irving Penn went under the hammer. Selling as Lot 299 as part of Sworders Fine Art Auctioneers’ 20th Century & Decorative Art auction, the rare still life, titled “Gino Leaves,” eventually fell to a bid of £61,000.
It’s not often an important work by such an esteemed artist as Mr. Penn is offered beyond the pristine salerooms of London, New York and Paris. The fact that Sworders, selling for a long-time client from their Stansted Mountfitchet saleroom, were able to realize such a price is testament not only to the company’s capacities but also the quality of their clientele.
Irving Penn is best known for his fashion photography, portraits and still-lifes. He exhibited widely and is represented in many public collections, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Of his craft, Penn, who passed away in 2009, once said: “A good photograph is one that communicates the fact, touches the heart, and leaves the viewer a changed person for having seen it; it is in one word, effective.”