Irving Penn Centennial at C/O Berlin

This year marks 100 years since the birth of esteemed photographer Irving Penn and to commemorate his life and work, C/O Berlin has been hosting the exhibition Irving Penn Centennial since late March and it closes on the 1st of July! Best known for his works in the 1950s and 60s, the exhibition features 240 works from his foundation – originally curated for a major retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Of these, around 180 have come to Berlin, thanks to the generosity of The Met and the Irving Penn Foundation.

Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation

Marlene Dietrich, New York, 1948 © The Irving Penn Foundation

From abstract nudes to celebrities, portraits to street photography, fashion to travel and still life to contemporary art, Penn’s photographs were both groundbreaking and timeless in their uniqueness, with his style still relevant and inspiring today. Irving Penn was one of the top fashion photographers of the era, shooting for American Vogue, and also built a name for himself shooting celebrities. Germany’s own Marlene Dietrich is featured in his body of work as is Pablo Picasso, Alfred Hitchcock, Spencer Tracey, Salvador Dali and of course his beloved wife and muse Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, one of the most highly coveted models to work with at that time.

Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957 © The Irving Penn Foundation

Pablo Picasso at La Californie, Cannes, 1957 © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn’s career spanned 7 decades and managed to encompass an extraordinary range of subjects and genres. The common theme in his work is a curiosity and humanity for his subjects. He was a master of symmetry and simplicity, both of which became the hallmark of his signature style and subsequent influence on future generations of photographers.

Penn sadly passed away in 2009, but his work lives on in numerous ways. Irving Penn Centennial will close very soon – on Friday 1st July so get in now to enjoy it in its final days. There is also a monograph available for purchase in the C/O Berlin book store marking the occasion of the centenary (published by Schirmer/Mosel, Munich).

The exhibition is open daily from 11am to 8pm and entry is €10 for adults and €6 for reduced fee tickets. Tickets can be purchased at the front desk or online. C/O Berlin offers free entry to everyone 17 years old and under. Guided tours run Saturday and Sunday at 2 pm and 4 pm in German and at 6 pm in English.

Melinda Barlow is an Australian freelance writer and editor, based in Berlin since 2012. Melinda works with print and online media and has a natural curiosity that informs her work. She is passionate about travel and great content. She loves to write most about the world, its people and why we all do what we do.