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Inspiration Board : A Poppy Study

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I so love Athena's Poppy story from this month's issue of Living. Her recent post on how to make the beautiful silk interpretations (the same that grace our blog header) got me thinking about why I have such an affinity for the flower—the answer is the iconic American artist and photographer Irving Penn. One of his most prolific bodies of work is said to be his series of poppy photographs in the 1960s. I was reminded of the series when I saw several of the photographs up for auction at Christie's "Three Decades with Irving Penn: Photographs from the Collection of Patricia McCabe."

1 of 9

1 "Poppy, Glowing Embers (New York), 1968." Image courtesy of Christie's New York.

2 "Lavender Glory Poppy" Image courtesy of Christie's New York.



5 "Anemone/Anemone Coronaria: Inra Blue" Image courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery

6 "Poppy: Barr's White" Image courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery


8 "Three Single Oriental Poppies" Image courtesy of Christie's New York.

9 "Iceland Poppies/Papaver nudicaule (E)" Image courtesy of Pace/McGill Gallery

Each of the photographs sold for $50,000 over what was estimated. The first image above, Poppy, Glowing Embers (New York), 1968, closed at $182,500—more than twice its estimate of $90,000.

I love the pre-lot text from Irving Penn which reads: "The reader will probably note my preference for flowers considerably after they have passed the point of perfection, when they have already begun spotting and browning and twisting on their way back to the earth."

See how Athena's interpretations play off of Penn's!

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