Irving Penn Centennial Maria Morris Hambourg, Jeff L. Rosenheim, Alexandra Dennett, Philippe Garner, Adam Kirsch, Harald E. L. Prins, Vasilios Zatse

Publication date:
18 Apr 2017
Metropolitan Museum of Art
372 pages: 305 x 254mm
365 color, tritone, and quadtone illus.
Sales territories:


The definitive book on the work of a virtuosic and revered American photographer

Irving Penn (1917–2009) was among the most esteemed and influential photographers of the 20th century. Over the course of a nearly seventy-year career, he mastered a pared-down aesthetic of studio photography that is distinguished for its meticulous attention to composition, nuance, and detail.  This indispensable book features one of the largest selections of Penn’s photographs ever compiled, including famous and beloved images as well as works that have never been published. 
Celebrating the centennial of Penn’s birth, this lavish volume spans the entirety of his groundbreaking career. An enlightening introduction situates his work in the context of the various artistic, social, and political environments and events that affected the content of his photographs.  Lively essays acquaint readers with Penn’s primary subjects and campaigns, including early documentary scenes and imagery; portraits; fashion; female nudes; peoples of Peru, Dahomey (Benin), New Guinea, and Morocco; still lifes; and much more. Irving Penn: Centennial is essential for any fan of this artist’s work or the history of 20th-century photography. 

Maria Morris Hambourg is an independent curator of photography. Jeff L. Rosenheim is curator in charge of the Department of Photographs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

"This stunning catalogue to the Met’s centennial exhibition draws out art historical connections within Penn’s authoritative, meticulously composed, nuanced oeuvre. This is a vivid social chronicle too, reflecting Penn’s long working life as a fashion photographer and portraitist."—Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times

Irving Penn: Centennial, by Maria Morris Hambourg and Jeff L. Rosenheim, presents page after page of startlingly fresh images.”–Luc Sante, New York Times

"An opulent volume, which represents the most comprehensive and multi-faceted publication of the photographer’s work to date."—Leica Fotografie International

"Vast and insightful volume . . . one of the finest photography books of recent years."—Christian House, Art Agency Partners

"Such depth, subtlety and grace – increasingly rare in modern photography – speaks to the viewer not in exclamations, but in pure poetry. . . . A key book for fans of photography."—Glass Magazine

"The attention that has been paid to the reproduction of Penn’s works is exceptional."—Lucy Davies, World of Interiors

“A factual examination and illustration of a huge achievement that has changed and influenced the face of photography.”—Marina Vaizey, V&A Magazine