August 26, 1898
New York City
|Died||December 23, 1979 81) (aged|
|Known for||Peggy Guggenheim Collection|
|Parent(s)||Florette Seligman |
Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim (August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912, and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who established the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Guggenheim collected art in Europe and America primarily between 1938 and 1946. She exhibited this collection as she built it; in 1949, she settled in Venice, where she lived and exhibited her collection for the rest of her life. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, and is one of the most visited attractions in Venice.
The Guggenheim family is an American family known for their involvement in the mining industry and later in philanthropy. The family is named after the Alsatian village Gougenheim.
Benjamin "Ben" Guggenheim was an American businessman. He died aboard RMS Titanic when the ship sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. His body was never recovered.
RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912 after the ship struck an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York City. Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it one of modern history's deadliest peacetime commercial marine disasters. RMS Titanic was the largest ship afloat at the time she entered service and was the second of three Olympic-class ocean liners operated by the White Star Line. She was built by the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast. Thomas Andrews, chief naval architect of the shipyard at the time, died in the disaster.
Both of Guggenheim's parents were of Ashkenazi Jewish descent. Her mother, Florette Seligman (1870–1937), was a member of the Seligman family. When she turned 21 in 1919, Guggenheim inherited US$2.5 million, equivalent to US$36.1 million in 2018. Guggenheim's father, Benjamin Guggenheim, a member of the Guggenheim family, died in the sinking of the RMS Titanic, and he had not amassed the fortune of his siblings; therefore her inheritance was far less than her cousins'.
She first worked as a clerk in an avant-garde bookstore, the Sunwise Turn, where she became enamored of the members of the bohemian artistic community. In 1920 she went to live in Paris, France. Once there, she became friendly with avant-garde writers and artists, many of whom were living in poverty in the Montparnasse quarter of the city. Man Ray photographed her,and was, along with Constantin Brâncuși and Marcel Duchamp, a friend whose art she was eventually to promote.
Bohemianism is the practice of an unconventional lifestyle, often in the company of like-minded people and with few permanent ties. It involves musical, artistic, literary or spiritual pursuits. In this context, Bohemians may or may not be wanderers, adventurers, or vagabonds.
The avant-garde are people or works that are experimental, radical, or unorthodox with respect to art, culture, or society. It may be characterized by nontraditional, aesthetic innovation and initial unacceptability, and it may offer a critique of the relationship between producer and consumer.
Montparnasse is an area of Paris, France, on the left bank of the river Seine, centered at the crossroads of the Boulevard du Montparnasse and the Rue de Rennes, between the Rue de Rennes and boulevard Raspail. Montparnasse has been part of Paris.
She became close friends with writer Natalie Barney and artist Romaine Brooks and was a regular at Barney's salon. She met Djuna Barnes during this time, and in time became her friend and patron. Barnes wrote her best-known novel, Nightwood , while staying at the Devon country house, Hayford Hall, that Guggenheim had rented for two summers.
Romaine Brooks, was an American painter who worked mostly in Paris and Capri. She specialized in portraiture and used a subdued tonal palette keyed to the color gray. Brooks ignored contemporary artistic trends such as Cubism and Fauvism, drawing on her own original aesthetic inspired by the works of Charles Conder, Walter Sickert, and James McNeill Whistler. Her subjects ranged from anonymous models to titled aristocrats. She is best known for her images of women in androgynous or masculine dress, including her self-portrait of 1923, which is her most widely reproduced work.
A salon is a gathering of people under the roof of an inspiring host, held partly to amuse one another and partly to refine the taste and increase the knowledge of the participants through conversation. These gatherings often consciously followed Horace's definition of the aims of poetry, "either to please or to educate". Salons in the tradition of the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries were carried on until as recently as the 1940s in urban settings.
Djuna Barnes was an American artist, illustrator, journalist, and writer best known for her novel Nightwood (1936), a cult classic of lesbian fiction and an important work of modernist literature.
Guggenheim urged Emma Goldman to write her autobiography and helped to secure funds for her to focus in Saint-Tropez, France, on writing her two volume Living My Life .
Emma Goldman was an anarchist political activist and writer. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.
Saint-Tropez is a town on the French Riviera, 100 kilometres west of Nice in the Var department of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of Southeastern France. The inhabitants of Saint-Tropez are called Tropéziens ; the town is familiarly called St-Trop.
Living My Life is the autobiography of Lithuanian-born anarchist Emma Goldman, who became internationally renowned as an activist based in the United States. It was published in two volumes in 1931 and 1934. Goldman wrote it while living in Saint-Tropez, France, following her disillusionment with the Bolshevik role in the Russian revolution.
In January 1938, Guggenheim opened a gallery for modern art in London featuring Jean Cocteau drawings in its first show, and began to collect works of art. Guggenheim often purchased at least one object from each of her exhibitions at the gallery.After the outbreak of World War II, she purchased as much abstract and Surrealist art as possible.
Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau was a French poet, playwright, novelist, designer, filmmaker, visual artist and critic. Cocteau is best known for his novels Le Grand Écart (1923), Le Livre Blanc (1928), and Les Enfants Terribles (1929); the stage plays La Voix Humaine (1930), La Machine Infernale (1934), Les Parents terribles (1938), La Machine à écrire (1941), and L'Aigle à deux têtes (1946); and the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), from his own eponymous piéce, Beauty and the Beast (1946), Orpheus (1949), and Testament of Orpheus (1960), which alongside Blood of a Poet and Orpheus constitute the so-called Orphic Trilogy. He was described as "one of [the] avant-garde's most successful and influential filmmakers" by AllMovie.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 70 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
Her first gallery was called Guggenheim Jeune, the name being ingeniously chosen to associate the epitome of a gallery, the French Bernheim-Jeune, with the name of her own well known family. The gallery on 30 Cork Street, next to Roland Penrose's and E. L. T. Mesens' show-case for the Surrealist movement, the London Gallery, proved to be successful, thanks to many friends who gave advice and who helped run the gallery. Marcel Duchamp, whom she had known since the early 1920s, when she lived in Paris with her first husband Laurence Vail, had introduced Guggenheim to the art world; it was through him that she met many artists during her frequent visits to Paris. He taught her about contemporary art and styles, and he conceived several of the exhibitions held at Guggenheim Jeune.
The Cocteau exhibition was followed by exhibitions on Wassily Kandinsky (his first one-man-show in England), Yves Tanguy, Wolfgang Paalen and several other well-known and some lesser-known artists. Peggy Guggenheim also held group exhibitions of sculpture and collage, with the participation of the now classic moderns Antoine Pevsner, Henry Moore, Henri Laurens, Alexander Calder, Raymond Duchamp-Villon, Constantin Brâncuși, John Ferren, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque and Kurt Schwitters. She also greatly admired the work of John Tunnard (1900–1971) and is credited with his discovery in mainstream international modernism.
When Guggenheim realized that her gallery, although well received, had made a loss of £600 in the first year, she decided to spend her money in a more practical way. A museum for contemporary arts was exactly the institution she could see herself supporting. Most certainly on her mind also were the adventures in New York City of her uncle, Solomon R. Guggenheim, who, with the help and encouragement of Hilla Rebay, had created the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation two years earlier. The main aim of this foundation had been to collect and to further the production of abstract art, resulting in the opening of the Museum of Non-objective Painting (from 1952: The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum) earlier in 1939 on East 54th Street in Manhattan. Guggenheim closed Guggenheim Jeune with a farewell party on 22 June 1939, at which colour portrait photographs by Gisèle Freund were projected on the walls. She started making plans for a Museum of Modern Art in London together with the English art historian and art critic Herbert Read. She set aside $40,000 for the museum's running costs. However, these funds were soon overstretched with the organisers' ambitions.
In August 1939, Guggenheim left for Paris to negotiate loans of artworks for the first exhibition. In her luggage was a list drawn up by Herbert Read for this occasion. Shortly after her departure the Second World War broke out, and the events following 1 September 1939 made her abandon the scheme, willingly or not. She then "decided now to buy paintings by all the painters who were on Herbert Read's list. Having plenty of time and all the museum's funds at my disposal, I put myself on a regime to buy one picture a day."When finished, she had acquired ten Picassos, forty Ernsts, eight Mirós, four Magrittes, four Ferren s, three Man Rays, three Dalís, one Klee, one Wolfgang Paalen and one Chagall among others. In the meantime, she had also made new plans and in April 1940 had rented a large space in the Place Vendôme as a new home for her museum.
A few days before the Germans reached Paris, Guggenheim had to abandon her plans for a Paris museum, and fled to the south of France, from where, after months of safeguarding her collection and artist friends, she left Europe for New York in the summer of 1941. There, in the following year, she opened a new gallery which actually was in part a museum at 30 West 57th Street. It was called The Art of This Century Gallery. Three of the four galleries were dedicated to Cubist and Abstract art, Surrealism and Kinetic art, with only the fourth, the front room, being a commercial gallery. Guggenheim held important shows, such as the show for 31 Women artists, at the gallery as well.
Her interest in new art was instrumental in advancing the careers of several important modern artists including the American painters Jackson Pollock and William Congdon, the Austrian surrealist Wolfgang Paalen, the sound poet Ada Verdun Howell and the German painter Max Ernst, whom she married in December 1941.She had assembled her collection in only seven years.
Following World War II – and her 1946 divorce from Max Ernst – she closed The Art of This Century Gallery in 1947, and returned to Europe, deciding to live in Venice, Italy. In 1948, she was invited to exhibit her collection in the disused Greek Pavilion of the Venice Biennale and in 1949 established herself in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni ('unfinished palazzo of the lions') on the Grand Canal.
Her collection became one of the few European collections of modern art to promote a significant number of works by Americans. In the 1950s she promoted the art of two local painters, Edmondo Bacci and Tancredi Parmeggiani. By the early 1960s, Guggenheim had almost stopped collecting art and began to concentrate on presenting what she already owned. She loaned out her collection to museums in Europe and in 1969 to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City, which was named after her uncle. Eventually, she decided to donate her home and her collection to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, a gift which was concluded inter vivos in 1976, before her death in 1979.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. Pieces in her collection embrace Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.
Guggenheim lived in Venice until her death in Camposampiero near Padua, Italy, after a stroke. Her ashes are interred in the garden (later the Nasher Sculpture Garden) of her home, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (inside the Peggy Guggenheim Collection), next to her dogs.
According to both Guggenheim and her biographer Anton Gill, it was believed that while living in Europe, she had "slept with 1,000 men".She claimed to have had affairs with numerous artists and writers, and in return many artists and others have claimed affairs with her. When asked by conductor Thomas Schippers how many husbands she’d had, she replied, “You mean my own, or other people’s?” In her autobiography, Peggy provides the names of some of these lovers, including Yves Tanguy, Roland Penrose and E. L. T. Mesens.
Her first marriage was to Laurence Vail, a Dada sculptor and writer with whom she had two children, Michael Cedric Sindbad Vail (1923–1986) and Pegeen Vail Guggenheim. They divorced about 1928 following his affair with writer Kay Boyle, whom he later married. Soon after her first marriage dissolved, she had an affair with John Ferrar Holms, a writer with writer's block who had been a war hero.Starting in December 1939, she and Samuel Beckett had a brief but intense affair, and he encouraged her to turn exclusively to modern art. She married her second husband, painter Max Ernst, in 1941 and divorced him in 1946. Among her eight grandchildren is Karole Vail, who was appointed director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in 2017.
The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1937 by philanthropist Solomon R. Guggenheim and his long-time art advisor, artist Hilla von Rebay. The foundation is a leading institution for the collection, preservation, and research of modern and contemporary art and operates several museums around the world. The first museum established by the foundation was The Museum of Non-Objective Painting, in New York City. This became The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952, and the foundation moved the collection into its first permanent museum building, in New York City, in 1959. The foundation next opened the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, in 1980. Its international network of museums expanded in 1997 to include the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Bilbao, Spain, and it expects to open a new museum, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates in 2017.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice, Italy. It is one of the most visited attractions in Venice. The collection is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, an 18th-century palace, which was the home of the American heiress Peggy Guggenheim for three decades. She began displaying her private collection of modern artworks to the public seasonally in 1951. After her death in 1979, it passed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which opened the collection year-round from 1980.
Raymond Duchamp-Villon was a French sculptor.
Gordon Onslow Ford was one of the last surviving members of the 1930s Paris surrealist group surrounding André Breton.
Robert Motherwell was an American painter, printmaker, and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School, which also included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.
Wolfgang Robert Paalen was a German-Austrian-Mexican painter, sculptor and art philosopher. A member of the Abstraction-Création group from 1934–35, he joined the influential Surrealist movement in 1935 and was one of its prominent exponents until 1942. Whilst in exile in Mexico, he founded his own counter-surrealist art-magazine DYN, in which he summarized his critical attitude towards radical subjectivism and Freudo-Marxism in Surrealism with his philosophy of contingency. He rejoined the group between 1951 and 1954, during his sojourn in Paris.
Hildegard Anna Augusta Elisabeth FreiinRebay von Ehrenwiesen, known as Baroness Hilla von Rebay or simply Hilla Rebay, was an abstract artist in the early 20th century and co-founder and first director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. She was a key figure in advising Solomon R. Guggenheim to collect non-objective art, a collection that would later form the basis of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum collection. She was also influential in selecting Frank Lloyd Wright to design the current Guggenheim museum, which is now known as a modernist icon in New York City.
Solomon Robert Guggenheim was an American businessman and art collector. He is best known for establishing the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
John Quinn was an Irish-American cognoscente of the art world; and a lawyer in New York City who fought to overturn censorship laws restricting modern literature and art from entering the United States.
Sherrie Levine is an American photographer, painter, and conceptual artist. Some of her work consists of exact photographic reproductions of the work of other photographers such as Walker Evans, Eliot Porter and Edward Weston.
The Art of This Century gallery was opened by Peggy Guggenheim at 30 West 57th Street in Manhattan, New York City on October 20, 1942. The gallery occupied two commercial spaces on the seventh floor of a building that was part of the midtown arts district including the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, Helena Rubinstein's New Art Center, and numerous commercial galleries. The gallery exhibited important modern art until it closed in 1947, when Guggenheim returned to Europe. The gallery was designed by architect, artist, and visionary Frederick Kiesler.
Charles Seliger was an American abstract expressionist painter. He was born in Manhattan June 3, 1926, and he died on 1 October 2009, in Westchester County, New York. Seliger was one of the original generation of abstract expressionist painters connected with the New York School.
Pegeen Vail Guggenheim was a Swiss-born American painter. Her painting combines two different artistic styles: surrealism and naïve art.
The Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme was an exhibition by surrealist artists that took place from January 17 to February 24, 1938, in the generously equipped Galérie Beaux-Arts, run by Georges Wildenstein, at 140, Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in Paris. It was organised by the French writer André Breton, the surrealists' brain and theorist, and Paul Éluard, the best known poet of the movement. The catalogue listed, along with the above, Marcel Duchamp as generator and arbitrator, Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst as technical advisers, Man Ray as head lighting technician and Wolfgang Paalen as responsible for the design the entrance and main hall with "water and foliage". The exhibition was staged in three sections, showing paintings and objects as well as unusually decorated rooms and mannequins which had been redesigned in various ways. With this holistic presentation of surrealist art work the movement wrote exhibition history.
Thomas Maria Messer was the director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy, for 27 years, a longer tenure than any of the city's major arts institutions' directors.
Woman with Animals, originally referred to as La dame aux bêtes and Portrait de Mme D.V. or Madame Raymond Duchamp-Villon, is a painting created late 1913 and completed during the month of February, 1914, by the French artist, theorist and writer Albert Gleizes. The painting was exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants, Paris, 1 March – 30 April 1914. Woman with animals is executed in a personal Cubist style noted by the fusing background and figure, the multiple perspective or successive views at various moments in time of the Mrs. Duchamp-Villon's face and other elements, the freestyle brushstrokes delineating juxtaposing planes. The work was restored in 1940 by Jacques Villon and Robert Delaunay. Formerly in the collection of Marcel Duchamp, the work—along with a 1913 lavis and gouache study of the same subject entitled La femme aux bêtes—has been in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy, since 1940.
Au Vélodrome, also known as At the Cycle-Race Track and Le cycliste, is a painting by the French artist and theorist Jean Metzinger. The work illustrates the final meters of the Paris–Roubaix race, and portrays its 1912 winner Charles Crupelandt. Metzinger's painting is the first in Modernist art to represent a specific sporting event and its champion.
Brooklyn Bridge is a 1915 painting by the French artist, theorist and writer Albert Gleizes. Brooklyn Bridge was exhibited at the Montross Gallery, New York, 1916 along with works by Jean Crotti, Marcel Duchamp and Jean Metzinger.
John Ferren (1905–1970) was an American artist. In his 20s, he apprenticed as a stonecutter in San Francisco, California. He is noted for his success in France as an American artist. Writer Gertrude Stein said of him "Ferren ought be a man who is interesting, he is the only American painter foreign painters in Paris consider as a painter and whose paintings interest them. He is young yet and might do ... that thing called abstract painting."
Karole P. B. Vail is an American museum director, curator and writer. Since 2017, she has been the director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Director for Italy. Prior to this appointment, she worked on the curatorial staff at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York for 20 years.