Nineteen years ago, I got off a boat, walked through a magical iron and jeweled gate, snuck past a hot pink Francis Bacon painting, slipped downstairs to a basement…late for class. The basement belonging to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Dorsoduro.
The great heiress of American Mining monies returned to the floating city of Venice post WWII. Having spent her time and inheritance between the wars amassing a unique collection of contemporary artist works. She was invited to use the Greek Pavilion to exhibit these “pictures” at the 1948 Venice Biennale, thus kicking off her international renown as a collector.
Guggenheim purchased an incomplete palace on the Grand Canal to house herself and her growing collection. Palazzo Venier de Leoni sits proudly, stoutly on the Grand Canal, see if you can recognize it as you cross the the Accademia bridge.
This palace was Peggy’s place, she exhibited, entertained and lived eccentrically for thirty years on this spot. Go inside, find the black and white photographs plainly framed and displayed at random throughout the house.
Snapshots sharing glimpses of what Peggy’s place was like with her in it. Perhaps like me, you will take a break, sit in the garden under the ivy covered pagoda next to the grave where she and her puppies lie side by side.
A moment to reflect and appreciate the courage and entrepreneurship of a grand dame like Peggy Guggenheim.