Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice
Envisioned as an ornate, five-story palazzo along Venice's Grand Canal, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was designed by Lorenzo Boschetti. Only one floor of the palace, which was begun in the 1750s, was ever realized. In 1948, Peggy Guggenheim, niece of Solomon, purchased the building for her home, and installed her extensive collection of modern art in it.
Peggy Guggenheim opened her collection to the public in 1949 with an exhibition of sculptures in the garden, and expanded access to the rest of the house in 1951. In 1969, she decided to bequeath her entire collection, and the palazzo, to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. Following Peggy's death in 1979, the foundation assumed responsibility for the building and the collection.
By the spring of 1985, all of the rooms on the main floor had been converted into galleries and the basement rooms into support areas for the museum; the white Istrian stone facade and its unique canal terrace had been restored; the barchessa had been rebuilt and enclosed; and the garden was landscaped by the Venetian architect Giorgio Bellavitis. In 1993, apartments adjacent to the museum were converted to galleries, a garden annex, and a shop designed by Lella Vignelli of Vignelli Associates, New York. In 1995 the museum café opened, more exhibition rooms were added, and the Nasher Sculpture Garden was completed. In 1999 and 2000 two remaining neighboring properties were acquired. The expansions were supervised by Clemente di Thiene and his son Giacomo di Thiene. Since 1993, the museum has doubled in size, from 2,000 to 4,000 square meters.
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Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
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