Image: Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn — Fashion Icon
Irving Penn, Lisa Fonssagrives, « La coiffure Hamlet », Vogue US, 1st March 1949. Silver gelatin print. Lent by the Tom Penn archive © Condé Nast
Museum Exhibitions

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn — Fashion Icon Group exhibition featuring Irving Penn at MEP in Paris, France

28 February—26 May 2024
Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, France

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn — Fashion Icon presents the personal collection of the greatest model of her time. Featuring almost 150 prints made between 1935 and 1955 by masters of photography such as Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, Louise Dahl-Wolfe and Erwin Blumenfeld, the exhibition offers a glimpse into the golden age of fashion photography, magnified by an exceptional personality. Tom Penn, son of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn and Irving Penn, proposed this exhibition project to the MEP. He has generously donated part of this remarkable collection to the MEP.

Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn (1911-1992), dancer, model, photographer, stylist and sculptor, is considered to be the first ‘supermodel’ in history. For 20 years, she was frequently featured in Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, appearing on around 200 covers of the leading fashion magazines of her time. In 1949, at the age of 38, she was at the height of her career, and appeared on the cover of Time magazine. A much sought-after model, she collaborated with the greatest fashion photographers of the period, including Irving Penn, whom she married in 1950, and who made her his partner in his greatest photographs. More than just a model, Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn contributed extensively to the creative process. Most of the photographs were taken in the studio and required long hours of preparation and a real connection between photographer and model.

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