New book. Very rare item. Penn selected the memorable images in this career retrospective in collaboration with Callaway Editions editors Arrowsmith and Majocchi. His photo-portraits (Auden, Chagall, Hitchcock, Spencer Tracy, Marlene Dietrich et al.) seem to spring out of a conspiratorial partnership with his sitters. He also has done impressionistic advertising photography that Corot might envy. Painterly still lifes are as provocative as the anatomically probing nudes. Penn’s continually surprising imagination turns to animal skulls, cigarette butts, multicolored lips, street garbage–odd mementos to “the ultimate sadness of all vanity,” as Liberman, editorial director of Conde Nast, writes in his perceptive introduction. Along with a steady stream of fashion photography that resembles a species of cultural anthropology, Penn, as we see here, has recently done powerful color drawings in a biomorphic cubist style. This album includes 71 tipped-in color plates and 397 black-and-whites, along with Penn’s running commentary. The printing is of superb quality.
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