000A. THE PRIVATE MUSEUMS - The Peggy Guggenheim Collection 6.15.13 WRAP



A precious jewel in the crown of the Guggenheim Foundation is the Peggy Guggenheim Collection housed in her former residence, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.


Peggy Guggenheim was born in 1898 in New York City into the wealthy Guggenheim and Seligman families, mining moguls and bankers respectively.  She inherited her uncle Solomon Guggenheim’s love of the arts and felt it was “her duty to protect the art of her own time”.  In the process she became one of the most influential arts patrons of the 20th century.


In 1921 she became an active member of the Parisian artistic life.  Among her friends were Brancusi, Djuna Barnes, Marcel Duchamp, and Samuel Beckett.  They encouraged her to open a gallery in London where she exhibited the works of Jean Cocteau and Vasily Kandinsky.  Within two years she grew bored with the enterprise and decided to found a museum of modern art for which she resolved to “buy a picture a day” from, among others, Francis Picabia, Georges Braque, Salvador Dali, Piet Mondrian and Fernand Leger.  It was not until 1941 that she fled Nazi-occupied France for New York with Max Ernst, to whom she was married for a short time.


The following year she opened “Art of this Century”, a museum/gallery designed by architect Frederick Kiesler.  There she showed her substantial collection of Cubist, Abstract and Surrealist art.  She also “discovered”, supported and exhibited such young, upcoming artists as Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Robert de Niro Sr., Clyfford Still and her “star”, Jackson Pollock.


She took her collection to the 1948 Venice Biennale, after which she decided to settle in the city and bought her Palazzo to house her and her works of art.  From 1949 on she began to exhibit sculpture in the Palazzo’s garden and organize exhibitions of her collection throughout Europe.  As of 1951, she opened her palazzo to the public during the summer months.


After an exhibition of her collection in the Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1969, despite being estranged from her family, she decided to donate her collection and the Palazzo to the Guggenheim Foundation upon her death in 1979.  To this day her ashes and those of her beloved dogs remain in a corner of the Palazzo’s garden.  The collection, open to the public year-round and run by the Guggenheim Foundation, is one of the finest private modern art museums in the world.  It remains magical to arrive at the Palazzo dock in a gondola or vaporetto to view the works of every great artist of Peggy Guggenheim’s time.



Hours: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM,  Daily   Closed: Tuesdays

Admission: Adults: $18.  Seniors: $14.  Students: $10.

Address: Dorsoduro, 701 – 704, 30123 Venice, Italy

Telephone: 39.041.2405.411






Comments are closed.