Collection on Peggy Guggenheim
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-1979
Palazzo Venier del Leoni.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Lawson-Johnston, Peter O.
Messer, Thomas M.
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967.
Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-
In 1975, the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation (PGF) transferred ownership of its entire art collection, worth $40 million, to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation (SRGF). With this transfer, the SRGF's collection of artwork expanded to include important representations of Surrealist and abstract art.
The SRGF was founded in 1937 by Solomon R. Guggenheim (SRG) to share his growing art collection with the public and for the "promotion and encouragement and education in art and the enlightenment of the public." Several years prior, in 1929, SRG, under the guidance of Hilla von Rebay (HVR), had begun to form a large collection of modern paintings by artists such as Vasily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, and Marc Chagall. The Museum of Non-Objective Painting (MNOP) was opened in 1939 with HVR as its Curator.
During this same time period, in 1938, Peggy Guggenheim (PG), SRG's niece, opened Guggenheim Jeune, a commercial art gallery in London that represented avant-garde artists as Jean Cocteau, Kandinsky, and Yves Tanguy. Initially advised by Herbert Read and Marcel Duchamp, PG began to amass a collection of Surrealist and abstract art. The gallery closed in 1939 and in 1942 PG opened Art of This Century, a unique gallery-museum in New York designed by Frederick Kiesler. Over the next five years, PG mounted dozens of important exhibitions devoted to European and American artists such as Giorgio de Chirico, Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Art of This Century was closed in 1947 and in 1948, PG's personal collection of artwork traveled to Europe where it is exhibited at the Venice Biennale. At this time, La Collezionne Peggy Guggenheim was the most comprehensive survey of abstract and Surrealist art exhibited in Italy. Following the Biennale, she purchased the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on Venice's Grand Canal, installed her collection, now known as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (PGC), and opened the doors to the public.
Shortly after the PGC opened for public viewing, HVR resigned her position at the MNOP in 1952 and James Johnson Sweeney (JJS) was named Director. The name of the Museum was changed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) to designate it as a memorial to its founder who died in 1949. JJS was succeeded by Thomas M. Messer (TMM).
In 1961, TMM, third director of the SRGM, began a long term relationship with PG. She had begun discussions on the disposition of her collection and had contacted Harry F. Guggenheim (HFG), then president of the SRGF and PG's cousin. Over the next several years (1961-1965), the discussion was wide-ranging, with PG vacillating between entrusting her collection to the SRGF to denying the SRGF the opportunity. In 1965, HFG and TMM approached PG with the proposal of an exhibition of her works at the SRGM. The exhibition, Works from the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation, opened on January 15, 1969. Shortly after attending the opening, PG sent a contractual letter to the SRGF, confirming her intent to transfer the collection and the palazzo to the Foundation. On July 17, 1975, the PGF approved the transfer of the PGC to the SRGF on the condition that it remain in the palazzo. Until 1976, the PGF, created in 1959 for tax purposes, was the legal owner of the PGC, in charge of all administration and operations. Following the transfer of the collection to the SRGF, however, the PGF was dissolved and the collection was officially brought under the administration of the SRGF. Unofficial terms of the agreement allowed PG to retain the right to live at the palazzo and administer the collection until her death.
PG died on December 23, 1979 in a hospital outside of Venice.
As of May 1, 2013, the PGC, residing in the Venier del Leoni, Venice and under the management of the SRGF, is open year round to visitors.
|1942-1947||Art of This Century|
|1949-1979||Palazzo Venier del Leoni|
|1939-1952||Hilla von Rebay|
|1952 -1960||James Johnson Sweeney|
|1961-1987||Thomas M. Messer|
|2008-present (2013)||Richard Armstrong|
Scope and Content Note
The Collection on Peggy Guggenheim (PG) contains papers and records collected by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) to chronicle PG's life, her art collection, and her relationship with the Museum. It contains bibliographic materials on PG, duplicates of correspondence between PG and artists, photographic reproductions of exhibition brochures from Guggenheim Jeune and Art of This Century, and press clippings detailing PG, the Guggenheim family, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (PGC). The bulk of the correspondence within the collection is between PG and SRGM staff including James Johnson Sweeney, Thomas M. Messer (TMM), Harry Guggenheim, and Peter Lawson-Johnston. This correspondence focuses on the Peggy Guggenheim exhibition at the SRGM in 1969 as well as the transfer of the PGC to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in 1975. Highlights of the collection include transcripts of TMM's interview with PG as well as event and exhibition brochures at the Palazzo from 1982-1990.
|4523||3-5||Correspondence copies (3 folders)||1946-1977|
|4523||6||Correspondence: Regarding "Confessions of an Art Addict" (restricted)||1960|
|8-11, 1-2||Peggy Guggenheim with Thomas M. Messer (6 folders)||1974, 2005|
|Newspaper Clippings: Original and copies (2 boxes)||1957-1993|
|4524||3-7||Photographs (5 folders)||undated, 1960s-1976|
|4524||8||Portrait of Peggy Guggenheim from 1926 (repro)||undated|
|4524||9||Research: Ruth Ivor photographs||1986-87|
|4524||10||"Book Reviews"||1960-1961, 1972|
|000512||Exhibition: "Guggenheim Venezia - New York, 60 Opere 1900-1950" (SRGM: Jan. 23 - Mar. 28, 1982)||1982|
|000512||Exhibition: "Works from the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation" (SRGM: Jan. 16 - Mar. 23, 1969)||1969|
|4525||1||"Peggy Gives Her Collection to Venice"||1961|
|4525||2||"Peggy's Paintings - Lost and Found"||1971-1972|
|4525||3||"The Tate Gallery Show"||1964-1965|
|4525||4||Writings: Intro Written by Peggy Guggenheim (repro)||1968 July|
|4525||5||Hilla von Rebay to Peggy Guggenheim||1938?|
|4525||6||Peggy Guggenheim to Hilla von Rebay||March 17, 1938|
|4525||7||Peggy Guggenheim to Solomon R. Guggenheim||1938?|
|4525||8||Peggy Guggenheim to Solomon R. and Irene Guggenheim||February 15, 1938|
|4525||9-29||Exhibitions (1938-1939): Reproductions (21 folders)||circa 1985|
|4525||30||Photograph: Installation View||1942|
|31-38, 1-44||Reproductions (52 folders)||circa 1985|
|Publications (3 folders)|
|4526||45||Essay: "Die Kunst der Ausstellung"||1988-1991|
|4526||46-47||Reproductions (2 folders)||circa 1985|
|4526||48||Research: Frederick Kiesler||undated|
|49, 1-10, 1||General (12 folders)||undated, 1968-1990|
|11-39, 1-50||Correspondence (79 folders, 25 restricted)||1953-1983|
|5051||2||Carnevale di Venezia||1985|
|4528||51||General Invites||undated, 1982-1988|
|52-54, 3||Premio (4 folders)||1982-1986|
|4528||55||Photograph; visitors in gallery||undated|
|4529||1-3||60 Works (3 folders)||1982-1983|
|4529||4||Arte Moderna e Contemporanea a Confronto||1990-1991|
|6, 4||Jackson Pollack (2 folders)||1984|
|4529||7-8||Jean DuBuffet and Art Brut (2 folders)||1986|
|5051||5||Nove Artisti della "Scuola di New York" alle Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia||1985|
|4529||9-10||Omaggio a Lucio Fontana (2 folders)||1988-1989|
|4529||11||Omaggio a Gastone Novelli||1992|
|4529||12||Orangerie des Tuileries||1974-1975|
|4529||13-16||Peggy Guggenheim's Other Legacy (4 folders)||1987-1988|
|4529||17||Re-Opening of Peggy Guggenheim Collection||1981|
|4529||18||Selections from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection||1987|
|4529||19||Six Modern Painters||1985|
|4529||20-21||Tauromaquia (2 folders)||1985|
|4529||22||Tre Artisti Italo-Americani||1988|
|4529||23-27||60 Works (5 folders)||undated, 1982|
|4529||28-32||100 Works (5 folders)||undated, 1981-1982|
|4529||33-35||Peggy Guggenheim Collection Catalog (3 folders)||1982-1984|
|36-37, 1-9||Peggy Guggenheim Collection Handbook (11 folders)||1982-1983|
|4530||10-12||Promotional Materials (3 folders)||1980-1981|
|4530||13||Research: Alberto Giacometti||1980|