IRVING PENN (1917–2009)
The Hand of Miles Davis, New York, July 1, 1986
selenium toned gelatin silver print, mounted on board, printed September 1986
signed, titled, dated [with print date], stamped photographer's copyright credit and reproduction limitation in ink (mount, verso)
image/sheet: 1434 x 1458 in. (37.4 x 37.1 cm.)
mount: 17 x 17 in. (43.1 x 43.1 cm.)
Gifted by the artist to Miles Davis (1926–1991),1986;
by descent to the present owner.
Exhibition catalogue, Irving Penn: A Career in Photography, Art Institute of Chicago, 1997, p. 78.
Alexander Libermann, Irving Penn: Passage, Knopf, New York, 1991, p. 259.
Exhibition catalogue, Irving Penn: Centennial, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, pl. 71, p. 191.
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Lot Essay

Irving Penn photographed Miles Davis for an album cover in 1986. Penn was under contractual agreement to Warner Brothers, Miles Davis' record company, not to release any of the images from this sitting for five years. This print, having been gifted to the Davis, embodies the magical interchange that took place between two artists–Penn the photographer and Davis the musician. Penn recalled after the shoot, 'at the end, I said, ‘Thank you very much.’ He got up, came over to me, and kissed me on the mouth. I didn’t know what to say. We shook hands, and he left. Later, I got the chance to know his music, and it struck me as being visual art of a most profound kind. How terrible I couldn’t share that with him then. This is one of the heartbreaks of the profession, I have only the kiss to remember.' –Irving Penn

This is an unnumbered print from the series given by the photographer to Miles Davis in 1986. Editioned prints did not generally become available until 1992.

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