Irving Penn’s Summer of Love Photos Return to San Francisco

Irving Penn’s Summer of Love Photos Return to San Francisco

In August 1967, a 50-year-old Irving Penn rented a building in Sausalito, California—a picturesque Bay Area enclave straddling San Francisco—with north-facing windows and made it his studio. The renowned photographer—who, by that time, had already established himself as a foremost image-maker of his generation, revolutionizing fashion and portrait photography as we know it today—was on assignment for Look magazine to document S.F.’s Summer of Love. He photographed the Haight-Ashbury crowd for the job: Hells Angels (whose members rode their Harleys into the freight elevator of his Sausalito space to be shot in front of a concrete wall), hippie communes, local rock acts, and members of the San Francisco Dancers’ Workshop.

The photographs from that trip, which ended up being published in an eight-page spread in 1968’s Look, are now part of an expansive retrospective of Penn’s seven-decade oeuvre. Originally shown at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, “Irving Penn” has traveled back to the Bay, landing at San Francisco’s de Young Museum from March 16 through July 21. This iteration of the exhibition features a newly enhanced section dedicated to Penn’s photographs from the 1967 Summer of Love, but that’s far from the only draw.

With more than 195 photographs mounted, the show is the most comprehensive gathering of Penn’s works to date, exploring not only his masterful photos of Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Issey Miyake, Truman Capote, and Joan Didion, but also his arresting still lifes, which bookend his career. Below, browse through a selection of the works on view at “Irving Penn.”

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Promised Gift of the Irving Penn Foundation. © Condé Nast

Irving Penn, Balenciaga Rose Dress, Paris, 1967.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Musem of Art, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, 2021. © Condé Nast

Irving Penn. Audrey Hepburn, Paris, 1951.

Courtesy of The Irving Penn Foundation. © Condé Nast

Irving Penn, Still Life with Watermelon, New York, 1947.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, 2021. © The Irving Penn Foundation.

Irving Penn, Issey Miyake, New York, May 16, 1988.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Musem of Art, Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © Condé Nast

Irving Penn, Rochas Mermaid Dress (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), Paris, 1950.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, 2021. © Condé Nast

Irving Penn, Joe Louis, February 15, 1948.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Musem of Art, Promised Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Woman in Chicken Hat (Lisa Fonssagrives-Penn), New York, 1949.

Courtesy of The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn. Rock Groups (Big Brother and the Holding Company and The Grateful Dead), San Francisco, 1967.

Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of The Irving Penn Foundation, 2021. © The Irving Penn Foundation

Irving Penn, Hells Angel (Doug), San Francisco, 1967.

The Irving Penn Foundation. © The Irving Penn Foundation.

Irving Penn. Hippie Family (Kelley), San Francisco, 1967.

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