Wednesday, February 3, 2010

peggy guggenheim; one of the great art collectors

Peggy Guggenheim, niece of Solomon Guggenheim, was your average new york party girl-cum-socialite until her 30s when she became enamored with the bohemian art scene. she then channeled her energy (and $$$$) into emerging artistic movements and developed one of the most spectacular art collections of the 20th century. her friends, an impressive list of artists, included duchamp, hemingway, man ray, pollock, joyce, miró, kandinsky, ernst, and name a few.

i first became infatuated with peggy when i was sixteen and learned of her contributions to the arts from Tom Wolfe's essay "The Painted Word". this spring, i further familiarized myself with peggy reading her memoir titled "Confessions of an Art Addict". the book mostly concerned her personal life; friends, foes, lovers, apprentices. but, as one would guess, peggy had a hard time separating her personal life from her investments so the book also reveals how she managed, acquired, and discarded some of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century (think female don juan).

a particularly amusing peggy anecdote is the story of her 1948 bronze by marino marini called "The Angel of the City" that sat in the front garden of her venetian palazzo (shown below). the sculpture was endowed with a detachable (screw-in) penis that peggy would then remove when prude guests stopped by to see her collection. enjoy these photos of peggy.

Heiress Peggy Guggenheim sunbathing on terrace of her Venier dei Leoni Palace on the Grand Canal (Venice, 1953 - Life Magazine)

guggenheim with a calder piece.... her marino marini "The Angel of the City", bronze

photographed by man ray in 1924.... flanked by art editor Alfred Frankfurter and his wife as they examine her modern art collection at her venier dei leoni palace on the grand canal. (venice, 1953 - Life Magazine)


Anonymous said...

WOW! We were just talking about Peggy Guggenheim tonight and how during WWII, she saved Modern Art from destruction by the NAZIs. She really was amazing, more than just a collector. She had vision. She led a fascinating life.

Kimmy said...

I love your blog :)

Anonymous said...



kathryn said...

those photographs make me want to go back to the guggenheim in venice asap.

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