The Passions of Irving Penn on Display in Venice

Like many great fashion photographers, Irving Penn didn’t restrict his oeuvre to swanlike models in fancy dresses. Far from it. During his seven-decade tenure at Vogue, which included 159 covers, he shot everything from still-lifes and flowers to celebrities and tribespeople.

On the five-year anniversary of his death (at the ripe old age of 92), a new retrospective, Resonance, explores wide-ranging repertoire of the never-stopping American photographer. At François Pinault’s sprawling Palazzo Grassi on the Grand Canal in Venice, curators Pierre Apraxine and Matthieu Humery have assembled 130 of the master’s photographs — glamour shots included — taken between the end of the 1940s and the mid-1980s, many of which have never been shown.

The aim of the exhibit is to present the photographic passions of the venerated lensman, a Jersey boy through and through who sought to capture the ephemerality of life and the fleeting connections between all living things. Well-known and barely-known images are paired side-by-side as visitors are given a rare glimpse into Penn’s process and the egalitarian nature with which he viewed his varied subjects.

Irving Penn, Resonance, through December 31, 2014, Palazzo Grassi, Dorsoduro 2, Venice

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