Avant-garde sculpture garden, metaphysical, surrealism, cubism and an 18th Century old Palace on the Grand Canal – The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy checks all of my boxes, as it will yours. If you appreciate modern art juxtaposed against the antiquated ambiance that is Venice, then The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is for you.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in the Dorsoduro district houses art from the first half of the 20th Century. Peggy Guggenheim was an American heiress, socialite and avid art collector. I read a few articles about her before my visit and I found her absolutely fascinating! She was no stranger to bucking social norms and lived her life as she saw fit.
Peggy traveled around Europe curating her personal art collection. She has no intention at the time of opening a musuem. Besides, can you imagine having some of these greats as your “personal collection!” Sheesh!
Peggy became an “honorary citizen of Venice” and was dazzled by the city. As a result, in 1949 Peggy moved to Venice and settled in her new estate and gardens called Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; which has been renovated into the museum you see today. Can you imagine the parties Peggy once held in her Grand Canal home! Oy Vey!
Art, Class & Sass from Peggy
Peggy exhibited her private art collection seasonally in her home until she died in 1979. At the time of her death, Peggy left her estate and personal art collection to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Her ashes were laid to rest on the museum grounds with her beloved lhasa apso dogs.
Peggy has been credited with discovering and supporting fledgling artists such as Romaine Brooks, John Tunnard and Jackson Pollock; many of their pieces are on display in the museum. Be sure to step out onto the front terrace for an incredible view (and instagramable photo opportunity!) of the Grand Canal.
Unlike some of the masterpieces you will see in Milan and Florence, Peggy’s permanent collection is rich with Cubism, Surrealism and abstract expressionism. As I walked around the estate, l easily recognized several famous works from Dali, Ernst (Peggy’s ex husband), Pollock, Picasso and Chagall. The location itself is a work of art and is complete with a sculpture garden, temporary exhibit space and café. We took our time wandering the grounds and spent about two hours here, which left us famished and ready for an ready for an afternoon aperitivo!
Although popular, there is rarely an admission line if you arrive early in the day. The Collection is closed on Tuesdays, admission is a reasonable €15. The entrance is a bit difficult to find, if you find yourself feeling lost, keep going; you are likely headed in the right direction. Also, be sure to carve out some time to wander the Nasher Sculpture Garden, it is a sweet little sunbathed oasis!
“I was a liberated woman long before there was a name for it.” -Peggy Guggenheim
get outta town.
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