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