tue 24/11/2020

Irving Penn: Small Trades, Hamiltons Gallery/ Portraits, NPG | reviews, news & interviews

Irving Penn: Small Trades, Hamiltons Gallery/ Portraits, NPG

Irving Penn: Small Trades, Hamiltons Gallery/ Portraits, NPG

Penn photographed tradesman with as much care as he portrayed celebrities

Irving Penn's Le Chevrier 'holds his box as proudly as an artist with his paints'The Irving Penn Foundation
This week I discovered Irving Penn’s little-known portraits of anonymous street traders, taken in Paris, London and New York between 1950 and 1951. Previously unseen in the UK, they are now appearing at Hamiltons’ Mayfair gallery: 33 examples from a series of almost 252 full-length portraits collectively titled Small Trades. While they lack the instant glamour of the celebrity Portraits currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery, these sensitive depictions of skilled street traders – including a Parisian cheese-seller, a London house painter, a New York flower delivery man - are refreshingly different from the refined quality of the celebrity prints.
This week I discovered Irving Penn’s little-known portraits of anonymous street traders, taken in Paris, London and New York between 1950 and 1951. Previously unseen in the UK, they are now appearing at Hamiltons’ Mayfair gallery: 33 examples from a series of almost 252 full-length portraits collectively titled Small Trades. While they lack the instant glamour of the celebrity Portraits currently showing at the National Portrait Gallery, these sensitive depictions of skilled street traders – including a Parisian cheese-seller, a London house painter, a New York flower delivery man - are refreshingly different from the refined quality of the celebrity prints.
They carried with them the smells from the streets where they worked amongst traffic, trains, machinery and hordes of people

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