Irving Penn photos to be auctioned at Christie's

Tue Apr 13, 2010 6:51pm EDT
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By Bernard Orr

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dozens of portraits by Irving Penn, one of the most prolific and important photographers of the 20th century, will be auctioned at Christie's tomorrow in the biggest single sale of his work.

Penn gave the 67 portraits over 30 years to his administrative assistant and friend Patricia McCabe, who died in 2004.

Laura Paterson, photography specialist at Christie's, said many pictures up for auction are platinum prints of the highest possible quality.

"I mean, these had a number of Penn devotees. In looking at the collection, people who know a lot about the artist said that they are the best examples of a particular image they have ever seen," she explained.

"He wasn't just giving her tokens. These are wonderful objects in their own right."

The collection is expected to sell for between $1.5 million and $2 million. Highlights of the auction include Cuzco Children, which was done in 1948 and has an estimated price range of $100,000 to $150,000.

Poppy: Glowing Embers New York could sell for up to $90,000 and Woman in Moroccan Palace, of Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn, in Marrakech is estimated to fetch between $300,000 and $500,000.

Fonnsagrives-Penn is considered the first supermodel and was married to Penn, who died in 2009. She was often photographed by Penn for many magazine covers.   Continued...

<p>A gelatin silver print by photographer Irving Penn, printed no later than 1964, titled "Cuzco Children 1948" is shown in this handout picture released to Reuters April 14, 2010. REUTERS/Copyright 1960 (renewed 1988) Conde Nast Publications Inc./Irving Penn/Handout</p>