Somerset House

11 October–11 December 2011

Leading international artists help to save Venice with major photographic exhibition at Somerset House. A major exhibition of photographic works of Venice by fourteen internationally renowned artists will be held at Somerset House from 11 October–11 December 2011.  

The exhibition, Real Venice, comprises work by artists invited to Venice to create a portfolio of images, designed to raise substantial funds to save Venice and to create a lasting legacy of the city. Real Venice is mounted by the Venice in Peril Fund and curated by Elena Foster, founder of Ivorypress.

To coincide with the exhibition, select works from the collection will be sold at auction in aid of Venice in Peril on 3 November 2011 at Phillips de Pury & Company, London.

The artists are: Lynne Cohen, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Antonio Girbés, Nan Goldin, Pierre Gonnord, Dionisio Gonzalez, Candida Höfer, Tiina Itkonen, Mimmo Jodice, Tim Parchikov, Matthias Schaller, Jules Spinatsch, Robert Walker and Hiroshi Watanabe.

 For centuries, Venice has inspired intellectuals, writers, and artists with its ravishing beauty, riches and strangeness. For the project, the artists were challenged to create a series of meaningful and original photographic images of Venice, perhaps the most photographed, but seriously threatened city in the world.  The resulting images show Venice in all its beauty, but also in all its paradoxes and contrasts. As well as addressing the everyday life of the city's inhabitants, its iconic monuments and modern architecture, the photographs capture the ravages wrought by mass tourism and the rise of the lagoon water level.

Over the summer Real Venice was on display at the Abbey of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice as part of the 54th Venice Biennale. All of the works in Real Venice have been donated by the artists to be sold in aid of Venice in Peril.  Selected works from the artists' portfolios will be sold at auction as part of the Phillips de Pury Photographs Sale on 3 November 2011. They will be on view at Phillips de Pury Howick Place from 27 October–3 November 2011.  The remaining works are available to purchase online at 

Anna Somers Cocks, Chairman of Venice in Peril stated: "Real Venice is a necessary initiative that harnesses the creativity, the vigour, the internationalism—and the financial power—of contemporary art to saving Venice, an exquisite city where art has always been of the essence.


Gwyn Miles, Director of Somerset House Trust stated: "We are delighted to be able to show these stunning images of Venice and help support the important work of Venice in Peril."

The members of the advisory board for the project are Anna Somers Cocks, Chairman of Venice in Peril and Founder Editor of The Art Newspaper, Elena Foster, founder, Chairman and CEO of Ivorypress, and David Landau, collector, businessman and scholar. 

The Venice in Peril Fund was created after the great flood in 1966, when the city's waters rose to nearly two metres above mean water level. Since then it has distributed millions of pounds for the restoration of Venetian monuments, buildings and works of art. The Fund is committed to ensuring the sustainability of Venice, acting as a lobby group, informing the international media and working with outside bodies such as the University of Cambridge to broker agreement on how to deal with some of the critical ecological, demographic and socio-economic issues facing the city.

Venice in Peril would like to thank the artists for their generosity and also wish to thank their partners, donors and sponsors:

PARTNERS:Ivorypress, Phillips de Pury & Company, Somerset House

DONORS:  Mrs Andrew Graham, Sir Ronald Grierson, The Kilfinan Trust, Sir Mark & Lady Moody Stewart, Mrs Marina Morrisson Atwater, The Rothschild Foundation, Lord & Lady Phillimore, Anonymous donor.

The Embankment Galleries

South Wing

Somerset House

Strand, London WC2R 1L

Exhibition opening hours:
 10am – 6pm daily

Image Credits:  Watanabe, Marta Marchi as Strega (silhouette)

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan