In 1948, Irving Penn pushed together two studio flats, put on the floor a piece of old carpeting and began making “a very rich series of pictures … This confinement, surprisingly seemed to comfort people, soothing them. The walls were a surface to lean on or push against. For me the picture possibilities were interesting: limiting the subjects’ movement seemed to relieve me of part of the problem of holding on to them.“ (Irving Penn)
Irving Penn, Marcel Duchamp, New York, 1948
About an hundred years earlier, in 1849, Gustave Le Gray, devastated by the loss of two daughters in the cholera pandemic, left the center of Paris (they died rue de Richelieu) for the green and windy neighbouring plain of Les Batignolles. There, in his atelier he began making a series of very creative portraits in simple corners or on old carpets. Most have been lost but some remain :
Gustave Le Gray, Edmond Cottinet, Les Batignolles, c. 1849.
The poet, born in 1824, founded in 1883 the French holyday camps.
Irving Penn, Truman Capote, New York, 1948
The two curators of the Paris Irving Penn show held at the Grand Palais in 2017, Maria Morris Hambourg and Jeff L. Rosenheim, had the generous idea to propose to the public one of the original backdrops of Irving Penn, giving the oportunity to return to the exhibition looking “behind” the portraits, and celebrating the American Master of the Backdrop !
Happy New Year Twenty-Twenty !
Bonne année 2020 !
Tanti auguri per 2020 !
Palazzo Augusti Arsilli
Via Marchetti 2