…Born on June 16, 1917, in Plainfield, New Jersey Penn studied painting, drawing, and graphic design at the University of Arts in Philadelphia. Upon finishing his studies in 1938, he moved to New York and worked as a freelance designer and illustrator. Shortly after, he accepted a position as art director at Saks Fifth Avenue in 1940. He worked at the company for a year before leaving to paint and take photographs in Mexico and across the US., Penn initially intended to become a painter and this work was seen as a way to further this pursuit.

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…he started working as assistant to Vogue at that time artistic director of the magazine; Alexander Liberman and published his first cover for the magazine with only 26 years, since which time his photographs were broadcast regularly in other publications.

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