Irving Penn Photograph Sells for $314,500 at Auction


Last week, Christie's auction house hosted the largest ever auction of works by famed fashion and portrait photographer Irving Penn.  His photos regularly fetch a high price at auction, but one platinum-palladium print went for far more than anyone expected.

'2 Guerdas' was taken in 1972 and depicts a pair of Morrocan dancers about to take part in an ancient cultural ceremony.  Penn said of the dancers, "Those chosen sat, eyes fixed on the lens, enjoying the camera's scrutiny yet themselves impenetrable, unhurried during the considerable time we spent together."

The print itself measures 21-1/8 inches by 17-1/8 inches and had an estimated sale price between $40,000 and $60,000.  It's one of forty that were printed and it fetched an impressive $314,500 at auction, five times more than anyone expected.

Christie's head of photography Philippe Garner said that this should be seen as a great compliment to Penn's work.  The most significant group of photographs by Irving Penn ever to come to auction," said Garner "the result that was a great tribute to his masterful talent."