A good-sized home, sculptures strewn throughout the gardens, the sun-drenched café where you’ll find a selection of teas in a warm, intimate setting…you are in the world of Peggy Guggenheim, one of the 20th Century’s most renowned collectors and donors.
Let’s go back a bit. Peggy is invited to show her collection at the first biennale after the war. It’s the first time artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko are exhibited in Europe. They represent the avant-garde of American painting and subscribe to the movement later referred to as ‘abstract expressionism’. After years in the US, Peggy reconnects with Europe and, having fallen under the charm of the Palazzo Venior dei Leoni, decides to buy it. She quickly moves in and lives there until her death in 1979.
Once settled, the house anchors her rich art collection which was eventually opened to the public three days a week so the artists she so admired could, in turn, be shared and admired by a larger audience. Perhaps that explains the aura so unique to this place, the spirit of Peggy, her hospitality, and her love of the art so careful chose and which is felt throughout the house.
As visitors we travel amongst the biggest names in modern art: Pollock, being the most well-known and having received a lot of support from Peggy, Calder, Braque, Giacometti, Mondrian, Picasso, Magritte, Duchamp, Léger, Brancusi, Picabia, Kandinsky, Miro, etc., they’re all there, displaying Peggy’s incredible flair and tastes. Paintings and sculptures live together in this place that’s kept the simplicity of its hostess. We remain de ‘guests’ of Peggy, having never really left as she was laid to rest, in accordance with her wishes, under a stone in the garden alongside her “babies”, notably the nine dogs that accompanied her throughout her life
To know what’s happening at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice while you’re there, it’s all at culturaliv.com.