12 June 2014

An Afternoon of Art

On this visit to Venice my must see list included the 
Peggy Guggenheim Museum.

The collection of over 300 pieces is housed in her former home,
 the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni,
 located on the Grande Canal in the interesting Dorsoduro district. 

This was a pleasant walk from my hotel.

Peggy Guggenheim was born in New York in 1898,
 the daughter of Benjamin and Florette. 
Tragically, her father died on the Titanic when she was just 13.
It was then discovered he had squandered the family fortune 
and they were forced to rely on charity from their
 uncle Solomon who later opened 
the stunning Guggenheim Museum in New York.

At 21 she came into an inheritance and embarked 
on a madly bohemian life involving
 a number of husbands, two children and many, many lovers!

Once when asked how many husbands she had, 
she supposedly replied,
 "Do you mean mine, or other people's?" 

 She lived in Venice from 1949 to her death at 81 in 1979.

In this 30 years she dedicated her life to protecting the art
 of her own time and so established what some call the most
 important collection of European and American art 
representing the 20th century.
At one stage her resolve was to "buy a picture a day".

A room in which to ponder the work of Jackson Pollock,
 whom she is credited with "discovering"
 and financially assisting,
 although later in life he was dismissive and rude about her.

I liked this silver bed head created especially 
for Peggy by Alexander Calder
who is known as the originator of the mobile,
 a type of kinetic sculpture.

His original version hangs in the entrance to her home

I also liked her bedroom window with its
 Blue Glass sculptures by Constantini 
modelled after Picasso sketches

If you happen to visit, be sure to enjoy coffee or lunch in the attractive cafe and then wander through the splendid 
Nasher Sculpture garden.

Henry Moore sculpture 

An honorary dispensation was granted by the City of Venice 
to allow her ashes to be buried in the garden

... alongside the remains of her beloved Lhaso Apso dogs

Her life story is quite fascinating, although rather tortured and sad in many ways, but she certainly lived it!

Peggy Guggenheim was the last person to own a private gondola 
and in the evenings of her later years she would delight
in cruising the canals of her cherished Venice with her dogs.

What a sight she must have been!

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