The Angel

1946, printed before 1960
Silver gelatin photograph

Signed, titled, dated, initialed, and annotated in pencil and stamped on the verso. From an edition of no more than 48.

Frame: 20 x 17 inches

Irving Penn’s photograph of Maurice Tillet, famously known as “The French Angel,” immortalizes the unique persona and captivating presence of this wrestling legend. Despite Tillet’s acromegaly, Penn’s lens captures not just his physical appearance, but also the strength and dignity that radiate from within. The image stands as a tribute to Tillet’s journey from the wrestling arenas of Europe to the spotlight of American wrestling in the 1940s. Penn’s masterful composition and sensitivity to his subject’s humanity elevate “The French Angel” beyond mere portraiture, turning it into a powerful symbol of resilience and the triumph of the human spirit.