Philip Rylands

Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and Foundation Director for Italy

Philip Rylands joined the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation as Administrator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, taking responsibility for the operations and development of Peggy Guggenheim’s house and collection following her death in 1979. In 1986 he became Deputy Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in 2000 its Director, and in 2009 the Guggenheim Foundation’s Director for Italy, always reporting to the Director of the Guggenheim Foundation in New York.

During Rylands’ tenure, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection has seen substantial growth. The 18th-century palazzo that houses that collection has been converted and restored, doubling the museum’s exhibition and administrative space, and an annual exhibition program has been developed, both in Venice and elsewhere (since 1985). The collection has increased by more than 200 works, including the deposit of the Gianni Mattioli Collection of Italian art (since 1997) and the bequest of the Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection of postwar European and American art by Hannelore B. Schulhof (2012). In 1980 Rylands founded the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Internship Program. In 1986 the Guggenheim Foundation acquired the U.S. Pavilion of the Venice Biennale, and since that time the Peggy Guggenheim Collection has provided administrative and logistical support for the U.S. pavilion exhibitions. In 2000 Rylands founded the Guggenheim U.K. Charitable Trust. Over the past several years the Peggy Guggenheim Collection has been the most visited museum of modern art in Italy.

Born in London, Rylands graduated with a degree in art history from King’s College, Cambridge, and in 1981 was awarded a Ph.D. by Cambridge University for his catalogue raisonné of the Venetian painter Palma Vecchio (published in 1988 by Mondadori and in 1992 by Cambridge University Press). His other publications include Restoring Venice: The Church of the Madonna dell’Orto (1976), Flying the Flag for Art: The United States and the Venice Biennale, 1895–1991 (1993, with Enzo Di Martino), Peggy Guggenheim and Frederick Kiesler: The Story of Art of This Century (ed. with Susan Davidson, 2004), and periodic lectures and reviews, including those for The Burlington Magazine. Rylands continues to occasionally curate exhibitions, has taught for several universities, and was formerly Distinguished Associate Professor of the University of Virginia. He has a Doctorate Honoris Causa from the University of Cluj-Napoca.

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