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Alfred Hitchcock

© 1948 (renewed 1976) Condé Nast Publications Inc.

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Alfred Hitchcock

by Irving Penn
vintage bromide print, 1947
9 5/8 in. x 7 5/8 in. (244 mm x 194 mm)
Purchased, 1994
Primary Collection
NPG P593

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

  • Irving Penn (1917-2009), Photographer. Artist of 30 portraits.

This portraitback to top

Irving Penn's photograph of Alfred Hitchcock was taken in 1947 and published in American Vogue on 15 February 1948. It is a fine, cool and dispassionate image of the great master of suspense, showing him, as often in Penn's photographs, sitting nowhere, perched on a pile of industrial carpet and only half-concentrating on the camera.

Related worksback to top

Linked publicationsback to top

  • 100 Photographs, 2018, p. 77 Read entry

    Born in Leytonstone, London, Sir Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) directed what is commonly accepted as Britain’s first sound feature film, Blackmail (1929), and from 1939 worked in Hollywood. Constantly exploiting technical innovations and prolifically inventive, he became known as the ‘master of suspense’ for films such as Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958), North by Northwest (1959) and the horror classic, Psycho (1960). In this photograph, published in American Vogue, Hitchcock is sitting in profile on a mound of grey carpet. It is a definitive example of the visual language of the American photographer Irving Penn (1917-2009), whose use of low-key lighting and subtle choreography of pose and gesture hints at the interior life of his subjects.

  • Muir, Robin, VOGUE 100: A Century of Style (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from 11 February - 22 May 2016), p. 94
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery: An Illustrated Guide, 2000, p. 200
  • Saumarez Smith, Charles, The National Portrait Gallery, 1997, p. 200 Read entry

    Irving Penn's photograph of Alfred Hitchcock was taken in 1947 and published in American Vogue on 15 February 1948. It is a fine, cool and dispassionate image of the great master of suspense, showing him, as often in Penn's photographs, sitting nowhere, perched on a pile of industrial carpet and only half-concentrating on the camera.

  • Saywell, David; Simon, Jacob, Complete Illustrated Catalogue, 2004, p. 304

Linked displays and exhibitionsback to top

Events of 1947back to top

Current affairs

Princess Elizabeth marries Philip Mountbatten at Westminster Abbey. Philip renounced his title of Prince of Greece and Denmark, to become Duke of Edinburgh when he married the heir to the throne.

Art and science

The first Edinburgh Festival includes performances by Kathleen Ferrier, Alec Guinness and Margot Fonteyn. The Festival is now a major annual international arts event that takes place over three weeks every August, and includes top class performers in theatre, music and dance as well as lesser-known performers who take part in the parallel 'Fringe Festival'.

International

India is granted independence from the British Empire and the former British Raj is partitioned into India and Pakistan. After various revolts and several years of civil disobedience led by Gandhi and his Quit India Movement, Britain agrees to disband the Raj and grant independence to India.
Palestine is partitioned into a Jewish State, an Arab State and a small internationally administered zone.

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