at Peggy

by Alain Chivilò


For the predominantly Venetian artists, Peggy’s breathed modernity, frequent an international environment and perhaps try to enter into its philanthropic interests. In Venice she was known for her glasses and hats with that way of being present in the city of the Serenissima.

Peggy Guggenheim, encyclopedically writing, was an art collector born on 8/26/1898 in New York and died on 12/23/1979 in Camposampiero. She, granddaughter of the financier and collector Solomon R. Guggenheim, as an heiress and patron was present in art subsidizing, purchasing, managing and giving impetus to the Modern currents of the time. It was in London (1938-39) in the Guggenheim Jeune gallery she exhibited Kandinsky for the first time in the capital, while in New York, at her “Art of this century” gallery (1942-47), she promoted the artists of Abstract Expressionism (New York School). She arrived in Venice in 1947 in the role of collector, patron, philanthropist, bohemian, reviving the cultural environments of the Serenissima. Two marriages and two divorces: 1922 with the writer Laurence Vail, divorce in 1930 and with the surrealist painter Max Ernst 1941, divorce in 1946.

Today her home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, is a much visited museum with works acquired by Peggy. Among her quotes: “Having a lot of time and all the museum funds at my disposal, I forced myself to buy a painting a day”. Additionally, “I wore one of my Tanguy earrings and one made by Calder to show my impartiality between surrealism and abstract art”.

Her portrait: Peggy Guggenheim, 1950s, Cameraphoto Epoche Archive © Vittorio Pavan. Analogue print, 1970. Gelatin silver print, 20×25 cm.


©AC, NDSL, AM, Alain Chivilo

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