I first learned about Peggy Guggenheim’s palace in Venice on an airplane, watching the movie “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.” On an intellectual level I understood that she was alternately the patron or the muse of some serious modern art heavyweights during a very influential period of the New York art scene. She was married to Max Ernst, and while that didn’t last their collector / collectee relationship seemed to, and she ended up with a wide variety of his pieces. My impression after seeing the film was that Peggy Guggenheim, aside from being an eccentric member of a bizarre family, spotted and promoted a Who’s Who of 20th century American art, and her estate in Venice was a necessary box check for anyone interested in modern art.
What I didn’t fully realize was that Peggy Guggenheim’s own home curation stood the test of time. Neither did I fully appreciate the completeness of her artistic vision until I saw it with my own eyes. This woman was not collecting baseball cards, she was collaging the tableau of her home. The curation is outstanding. I’m not going to list off examples of now shining stars that grace her walls, since they blinded my own impressions until I got there. What I will say is: LAYERS.
The pieces speak to one another - there is a Bridget Riley next to an Agnes Martin. Lines, lines, so many lines! And there are glass sculptures of Picasso figures lining a window facing the Grand Canal. And there are layers and layers and layers and layers and layers. When you visit Venice you must go here on your first day, because afterwards you will see inspiration everywhere. With Peggy as my muse, here are some of the photos I took:
Finally, like many art museum experiences, my brain was overcome with ideas that I feared were fleeting so I walked, umbrella-less, through the rain pouring into the open courtyard to the cafe to jot down my notes. They are:
Keep an eye out to see what I do with them!
*Also, Tancredi. That is a post for another time.