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Tribute to Peggy Guggenheim

Tribute to Peggy Guggenheim  peggy guggenheim venice, picasso painting on the beach,

Maybe we are talking about the most famous art collector of all time, American by birth with Venice in the heart.

Behind a great artist there is always a great art lover. Once they were called patrons, then they became collectors or gallery owners who then joined the critics, commentators, organizers of events and so on. etc. The point of the question does not change: an artist, in order to grow up, needs a concrete support, which allows him to devote himself to his full-time passion.

The story is not done with the self and with the but, I suspect that without Peggy Guggenheim perhaps we would not have known artists like Pollock or Dali, and that the artistic avant-gardes of the twentieth century probably would not have advanced in Europe with their innovative power.

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Brief biography of Peggy Guggenheim

The beginnings

The success of Peggy Guggenheim

Why Peggy Guggenheim is important

When Peggy Guggenheim died



Brief biography of Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim (New York, 1898 - Camposampiero, 1979) was probably the most famous art collector of the 20th century.

She was born into a rich and influential family. His father, Benjamin Guggenheim, had made a fortune in the extraction of silver and copper and in the steel industry. His mother Florette Seligman belonged to one of the most important families of American bankers.

The young Peggy, however, did not care to accumulate wealth and the rich bourgeois salons preferred the environments of artistic avant-gardes, so that in 1922 she married Laurence Vail, a penniless dadaist painter.

At that time she had the opportunity to meet many of those who wrote the history of twentieth century: Marcel Duchamp, Brancusi, Man Ray.


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The marriage with Vail ended in 1928, so Peggy Guggenheim moved to Europe to live between London and Paris with her two sons, Sinbad and Pegeen.

In London in 1938 he inaugurated the Guggenheim Jeune Gallery, which would host the works of some of the most important avant-garde artists: Kandinskij, Picasso, Ernst, Braque, Boccioni, Brancusi, Duchamp, Dalì, Mondrian.

In 1941 Peggy Guggenheim married the Surrealist artist Max Ernst. However, those were gloomy years for Europe: the Nazi troops advanced towards Paris and Peggy, of Jewish origin, was forced to leave the old continent with her new husband, to find shelter in the United States.


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The beginnings

When the war finally ended, Peggy Guggenheim returned to Europe and bought the famous Venier dei Leoni Palace in Venice, where she moved her collection, making it accessible to the public.

With Peggy Guggenheim, the palace remained a point of reference for the city of Venice, becoming a destination for artists and intellectuals. The collector lived there until 1979, when he died at the age of 81. Its ashes are today preserved in the palace garden.


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The success of Peggy Guggenheim

Crossing the threshold of the Guggenheim Museum in Venice one has the impression of making a journey back in time, among the most interesting pages of 20th century art history: Mirò, Magritte, Ernst, Pollock, Kandiskji, Bacon, Chagall, Picasso , Brancusi, Warhol, De Chirico, Sironi, Mondrian, Malevich. From there. It is as if each of these artists wanted to leave their mark in this magnificent villa overlooking the Grand Canal.

It would be interesting to tell you all the works on show in the Guggenheim collection, but I should write a whole book about it. For this reason, among all the works I have chosen six, which have impressed me and that I want to share.


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Why Peggy Guggenheim is important


Peggy Guggenheim Museum is the best European Contemporary Art’s concentration. There is Renè Magritte where the ordinary becomes extraordinary. This allows us to see the ordinary world with different eyes, more attentive, and not to take anything for granted.

It also happens in this work, of which there are several versions, one preserved in New York, one in Brussels, one is in a private collection and another, of course, is in Venice. In a single image, both day and night coexist and contrast, creating a sense of estrangement in the viewer.

In fact, the two parts of the day bring with them opposite meanings: on the one hand the harmony and security of light, on the other the sense of loneliness and melancholy of the dark. It is a feeling that Magritte's canvas manages to convey to the viewer at first glance.


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In the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice there are many paintings by the surrealist painter Max Ernst, who married the collector in 1941. There is “La vestizione della sposa” a work of immediate visual impact for reason of its dimensions (130 × 96 cm) .

The artwork is full of meaningful symbols that allude to the initiation rite and to the loss of virginity that marriage implies.

In fact, the bride has the face of an owl, an animal capable of seeing even in the dark, beyond human perception. It is as if the fateful step that the bride is about to take will lead her to a higher stage, which will allow her to know love even in her carnal essence. The woman at his side seems to represent virginity, who turns back while the bird seems to represent the man, with the pike pointing to the woman's belly.

Obviously, when one enters the field of symbolic meanings, each figure can take on a different meaning and there is hardly a single explanation of the scene.


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I could not speak of this work by Marc Chagall, an artist to whom I am particularly attached, thanks to his ability to create a direct link between reality and the world of childhood and of the dream hidden in the heart of the spectator.

The painting Pioggia is no exception and in it we find some characteristic features of the poetry of the Belarusian painter, such as the goat, the farmers and the donkey who are clear references to the village of Vitebsk, the birthplace that the artist tells with sweetness and nostalgia .

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Alchimia is one of the most famous works by Jackson Pollock, restored in 2015, is one of the most important pieces of the Guggenheim collection in Venice. Pollock's brushstrokes manage to convey to the spectator a harmonious feeling of power, as if in the chaos there was a balance, made possible by the contrast of the forces drawn on the canvas.

The painting weighs 4.6 kilos, because of the paints that the artist has poured on the canvas with the technique of dripping, consisting in dripping paint on the canvas placed on the floor.

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The “Red Tower” is one of the paintings that are part of the famous "metaphysical squares" of Giorgio de Chirico, distinguished by an irrational perspective that helps to make the landscapes impalpable and mysterious as if they were born of silent dreams.

The painting is a clear example of the "metaphysical painting" elaborated by the Italian master. This term refers to an art that uses the typical technical tools of painting (perspective, chiaroscuro, color) to represent something that goes beyond sensory experience, leaving room for dreams and visions the fruit of the unconscious.


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When Peggy Guggenheim died

Before his death, Peggy Guggenheim donated her Venetian collection to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, founded by her uncle in 1937.

The famous Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao are also part of the Foundation.

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