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First venture – Peggy Guggenheim collection

4.5.2015
WU Nga Sai

WU Nga Sai

Venice Biennale Intern

I believe many of you have heard of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. So you may then wonder – who is Peggy Guggenheim ? Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, and is one of the most visited attractions in the city. Peggy is actually the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim who found the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1959, the first museum that is named after the Guggenheim family. Since then sister museums have been built in Bilbao, Berlin and Las Vegas. Although Peggy Guggenheim Collection is the smallest among them, it holds the heart of many art lovers.

 

Born in 1898, Peggy’s family by then had made a great fortune from smelting metals. Her father died aboard Titanic in 1912 and Peggy inherited a great amount of money.  She later went on and built an art collection in Europe and America between 1938 to 1946. In 1949 she settled in Venice where she lived and exhibited her collection for the rest of her life. Eight years of collecting in a lifetime of eighty-four years is not much, but Peggy managed to change the face of 20th-century art by promoting some of the very notable artists now we have all heard of – including Jackson Pollock, whose works are now on view in a retrospective exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim Collection.

 

To go to the museum, we took the water bus and got off at Academia. Once we got off we saw this very beautiful café which overlooks the water.

 

We stopped for a gelato en route to the museum.

 

The museum is in a palazzo that was Peggy’s home for thirty years. We entered through this humble entrance in the backyard.

 

The garden

In a corner of the garden is the grave of Peggy Guggenheim where her ashes are interred.

 

The setting of the interior is indeed very homey.

 

Below is a picture of a window facing the Grand Canal. It is said that the building has an unusually low elevation.

 

Titled Jackson Pollock’s Mural: Energy Made Visible, the exhibition that is now held at the Collection is curated by David Anfam. It is a touring exhibition that focuses on Pollock’s Mural, the largest painting that has even been created by the artist. No photograph was allowed in this room so I could only show you the entrance.

 

This is the painting which the exhibition is themed around.  It has long been rumoured that it was completed in merely one night’s time. You can read more about the work from this link: http://uima.uiowa.edu/jackson-pollock

 

Photo Courtesy: University of Iowa Museum of Art

 

Peggy Guggenheim discovered Jackson Pollock when he was a carpenter at in Solomon Guggenheim’s museum, and gave him his first exhibition at the Museum Correr in 1950 in Venice. I guess it’s appropriate to say that his fame is a direct result of Peggy.

 

In 1947 Pollock experimented with his innovative dripping method by which he splattered with various utensils streams of colour onto a canvas laid on the floor. The paint cans and tools he used in his studio in Long Island is exhibited in another room of the exhibition.

 

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