Image: Irving Penn's masterpieces at Les Franciscaines
Irving Penn, Picasso (B) (2 of 6), Cannes, France, 1957. Platinum palladium print mounted to aluminium. Image 47,3 x 47,3 cm © The Irving Penn Foundation
Museum Exhibition

Irving Penn's masterpieces at Les Franciscaines First exhibition featuring the entire Irving Penn collection at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (MEP)

4 March—28 May 2023
Les Franciscaines, Deauville

Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris and Les Franciscaines in Deauville have conceived this exhibition presenting the entire Irving Penn collection at the MEP for the first time.

A major author of twentieth-century photography, Irving Penn (1917-2009) was one of the leading figures in Vogue magazine for over sixty years. From the 1940s onwards, he developed an incomparable body of work in the fields of fashion, portraiture and still life photography, playing with commissions with virtuosity.

His work, mainly done in the studio, is characterised by an aesthetic of elegant simplicity with meticulous attention to composition, nuance and detail.

Portraits, still lifes, nudes, fashion photos... The exhibition takes us on a journey of discovery of Irving Penn's extraordinary artistic career.

From his very first photographs in 1939 in the streets of New York, through his famous portraits of Colette, Cocteau and Picasso, to his last fashion photographs for Vogue in 2007, this is a unique opportunity to discover, in more than 100 original prints, the universe and singular series of one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century.


The MEP - Maison Européenne de la Photographie is a key venue for the Parisian art scene, located between the Marais and the banks of the Seine. It offers an audacious programme of exhibitions and presents internationally renowned figures as well as emerging artists. The MEP also has one of the most important collections of photographs in France from the 1950s to the present day, which is regularly presented in the context of on-site exhibitions, off-site exhibitions and loans.

The MEP began acquiring works by Irving Penn in 1990. He then made a major donation in 1998. In 2019, a new acquisition of 46 prints, made possible by the generosity of the MEP's Circle of Collectors, the Fondation Étrillard and the City of Paris, will make it possible to assemble a collection of 109 prints representative of the photographer's entire career.

Opened in 2021, Les Franciscaines, the new cultural establishment of the City of Deauville, is situated in a former 19th century orphanage and convent. It brings together a museum, auditorium and media library, inventing a decompartmentalized ways of cultural sharing.

Curator of the exhibition:
Pascal Hoël, Head of the MEP collections
Frédérique Dolivet, Assistant to the Head of Collections at the MEP

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