Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes. This post, combines both images of her and quotes she made; during her stay in Venice. It provides some insight, into her life in Venice, her relationships and her views on collecting art.
Following World War II and her divorce from Max Ernst in 1946; she closed her New York “The Art of This Century” gallery, in 1947 and returned to Europe, deciding to live in Venice.
In 1948, she was invited to exhibit her collection in the disused Greek Pavilion of the Venice Biennale. In 1949, she moved into the “Palazzo Venier dei Leoni”, the single story unfinished 18th century palazzo; superbly located close to the southern entrance to the Grand Canal.
In 1979, she donated the collection to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Known as the “Guggenheim Collection”, it is one of the most important collections of modern European and American art; embracing Cubism, Surrealism and abstract expressionism. The museum also presents, masterpieces from the Schulhof collection, a sculpture garden, as well as temporary exhibitions.
A bohemian at heart, Guggenheim saw collecting art, as primarily a creative endeavour; not as an investor, but one of supporting developing artists and sharing with the larger public.
(b. August 26, 1898, New York, U.S.A. – d. December 23, 1979, Camposampiero, near Padua, Italy)
Photographed on the roof terrace, with the Academy Bridge to the rear. Peggy found love and companionship in her dogs (fourteen of them); something that was to often allude her, in personal relationships.
They are buried side by side, in the garden – forever together!
She named her second of fourteen dogs “Pegeen”, (below – 1951-53) and apparently was surprised, that her daughter of the same name could be offended!
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes: INTRODUCTION
Peggy Guggenheim was an art collector, socialite and muse. In Venice, she presented herself as “celebrity” – from the circles she mixed in and entertained; to her many personal relationships, the way she dressed, her “butterfly glasses”, her private gondola and even her accompanying beloved dogs. In many ways, she can be viewed as one of the true fore-runners, of today’s widespread “celebrity culture” phenomenon.
There are several biographies (including her own), together with hundreds of articles written about her and numerous photographs taken; especially those covering her life in Venice.
No one can ever really know fully, the “truth” of who she really was; from the way she projected herself and was perceived by others. However, I hope you’ll find the post gives some insight, into her character, motivation and life!
I have combined her publicised quotes, with what are small, low resolution and poor quality images, taken off the internet and reprocessed and sharpened them; to give a more nostalgic feel, hopefully sympathetic to her words.
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes. On Venice, life, art and relationships
“It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else.”
“Venice is not only a city of fantasy and freedom. It is also a city of joy and pleasure.”
“If anything can rival Venice in its beauty, it must be its reflection at sunset in the Grand Canal.”
(On Venice): “Every hour of the day is a miracle of light. In summer with daybreak the rising sun produces such a tender magic on the water that it nearly breaks one’s heart.”
“To go out in a gondola at night is to reconstruct in one’s imagination the true Venice, the Venice of the past alive with romance, elopements, abductions, revenged passions, intrigues, adulteries, denouncements, unaccountable deaths, gambling, lute playing and singing.”
“My mother’s one idea was to sacrifice her life to her children and she had done nothing else since the death of my father. We wished that she had married again instead.”
“It isn’t in my nature to be afraid”
“I look back on my life with great joy. I think it was a very successful life. I always did what I wanted and never cared what anyone thought. Women’s lib? I was a liberated woman long before there was a name for it.”
“I was a liberated woman long before there was a name for it.”
(When asked how many husbands she had had:) “My own, or other people’s?”
“I thought it would be nice to marry Virgil [Thomson] to have a musical background, but I never got far with the project.”
“Peace was the one thing that Max (Ernst) needed in order to paint, and love was the one thing I needed in order to live. As neither of us gave the other what he most desired, our union was doomed to failure.”
“Although she gave parties and collected pictures and people, there was – and is – something cool and impenetrable about Guggenheim. She does not fuss.” Gore Vidal in his foreword essay, to her memoirs.
“I dedicated myself to my collection. I made it my life’s work. I am not an art collector. I am a museum.”
“I was much more interested in literature than I was in art. I just got into art by mistake.”
“I took advice from none but the best. I listened, how I listened! That’s how I finally became my own expert.”
“My knowledge of art ended at impressionism. I personally always hated Pop art.”
“I wore one of my Tanguy earrings and one made by Calder in order to show my impartiality between Surrealist and Abstract Art.”
[On John Tunnard:] “One day a marvellous man in a highly elaborate tweed coat walked into the gallery. He looked a little like Groucho Marx. He was as animated as a jazz-band leader, which he turned out to be. He showed us his gouaches, which were as musical as Kandinsky’s, as delicate as Klee’s, and as gay as Miró’s.”
“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.”
[On amassing art for her collection:] “My motto was ‘Buy a picture a day’ and I lived up to it.”
“I do not like art today. I think it has gone to hell as a result of the financial attitude. People blame me for what is painted today, because I had encouraged and helped this new movement to be born. I am not responsible….today is the age of collecting, not of creation”
“I don’t collect anymore. Everything is so terribly expensive. I don’t see anything I like anyhow.”
Below: Two poster-like images, showing Peggy on her terrace, with Venice as her backdrop; relaxed with her beloved dogs.
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes. What other people said
“She was divorced, globe-trotting Jewish aristocrat who championed modern art in the face of the Nazis and broke all the rules of the fussy society she was born into.” Nell Frizzell
Peggy Guggenheim was, “the last of Henry James’s transatlantic heroines—Daisy Miller with rather more balls.” Gore Vidal.
Sara Carson, who worked at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, wrote to me in an email: “Art was built in to every aspect of her life—she had so many paintings she had to stack them in her bathroom, where they got splattered with toothpaste.“
“She grew up in an environment with certain rules, and she broke them all,” “That speaks to a sort of courageousness. Lisa Vreeland, Art Addict
“Her outlook was more progressive than the people, the men, around her,”….”There were no rules attached to her life when not many people were living like that.” Lisa Vreeland, Art Addict.
“…There aren’t many figures in the art world in an influence in so many places. I’m not sure that she was even aware of it; this was just her life. She lived it in her own terms, and her own terms were to just push forward and do it.” Lisa Vreeland” Art Addict
She may not have fussed, but Guggenheim certainly f****d. In Art Addict, we hear about the four days she spent in bed with Samuel Beckett, about her “wholly unsuccessful” sex with Jackson Pollock, and her voracious sexual appetite well into her gray-haired years. “Her outlook was more progressive than the people, the men, around her,”…. “There were no rules attached to her life when not many people were living like that.” Lisa Vreeland” Art Addict
The “Florence” Text – by Jenny Holzer
The relationship between the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Jenny Holzer is long-standing, dating back to the 1990 Venice Biennale, when Holzer and the US Pavilion; managed by the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, was awarded the prestigious Leone d’Oro. In 2001, Holzer presented the Peggy Guggenheim Collection with the site-specific Garden Bench, an Istrian stone bench inscribed with her ‘Florence’ text.
I WATCH YOU – I SCAN YOU – I WAIT FOR YOU – I TICKLE YOU – I TEASE YOU – I SEARCH YOU – I BREATH YOU – I TALK
I SMILE – I TOUCH YOUR HAIR – YOU ARE THE ONE – YOU ARE THE ONE – YOU DID THIS TO ME – YOU ARE MY OWN – I SHOW YOU – I FEEL YOU – I ASK YOU – I DON’T ASK
I DON’ T WAIT – I WON’T ASK YOU – I WON’T TELL YOU A LIE – I WAS CRYING ALOUD – THERE WAS BLOOD – NO ONE TOLD ME – NO ONE KNEW – MY MOTHER KNOWS – I FORGOT YOUR NAME
I DON’T THINK -I BURY MY HEAD – I BURY YOUR HEAD – I BURY YOU – MY FEVER – MY SKIN – I CANNOT BREATHE – I CANNOT EAT – I CANNOT WALK – I AM LOSING TIME
I AM LOSING GROUND – I CANNOT STAND – I CRY OUT – I BITE – I BITE YOUR LIP – I BREATH YOU BREATH – I PULSE – I PRAY ALOUD
I SMELL YOU ON MY SKIN – I SAY THE WORD – I SAY YOU NAME – I COVER YOU – I SHELTER YOU – I RUN FROM YOU – I SLEEP BESIDE YOU – I SMELL YOU ON MY CLOTHES – I KEEP YOUR CLOTHES
I searched briefly online for poems written about Peggy and came up with only one, by a rather eccentric gentleman called Budart!
“Peggy Guggenheim’s Garage.”
Out behind the garden was a shed,
It was full of all the art she owned
But couldn’t find room for
In the main house.
All the art that was good
But too big or too small,
All the art that didn’t quite go with the rug
Or clashed with the drapes,
Packed away, banished to the dust and the gloom.
I wondered if Peggy ever told the artist.
What had happened to their work.
Little notes perhaps,
“I’m sorry I couldn’t make you famous
Their simply wasn’t room.
But probably not.
Peggy was busy shocking people
Defining art in the 20th century,
Swimming naked in the Grand Canal
In front of her house.
Which, considering the hundreds
Of lesser canals that drained the sewage
Of thousands of apartments into the Grand Canal,
Was an extremely reckless thing to do
Above: On the front terrace, overlooking the Grand Canal. Designed by Marino Marini, a huge figure on horseback, with a detachable penis for when entertaining important but less “progressive” guests!
Below: one last thought, on a plaque in her garden.
“East meets West at the Guggenheim” – Ian Coulling FRPS
LINKS (internal external)
The “Guggenheim Venice” is one of my favourite museums. On the side of the Grand Canal, close to its southern entrance from the San Marco Basin; it’s relatively compact and intimate, in the sense that you can get close to the displayed artwork and really feel the presence of Peggy. The gardens are wonderfully designed, with a fine display of sculptural artwork/features, a cafe-restaurant and of course; her grave and that of her most loved companions – her dogs.
Peggy Guggenheim in Venice – an introduction to the Guggenheim Foundation, the Guggenheim Collection and the Life of Peggy Guggenheim.
Peggy Guggenheim – The Last Dogaressa – an exhibition held at the Guggenheim Venice, that ran between September 2019 and January 2020. The exhibition, celebrated the Venetian life of its founder and highlighted the events and the exhibitions, during the 30 years she spent in Venice from 1948-1979; which proved to be authentic milestones in the history of 20th century art.
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes
Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes Peggy Guggenheim – Images and Quotes