Collection on Peggy Guggenheim

Collection on Peggy Guggenheim.

Collection Overview

Repository:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives.
Creator:
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Title:
Collection on Peggy Guggenheim.
Call Number:
A0022
Dates:
1938-1993, 2005 (bulk 1981-1988)
Volume:
5.5 cubic ft. (12 boxes)
Biographical Abstract:
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." The Museum of Non-Objective Painting (MNOP), which became the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1952, was opened in 1939. During this same time period, Peggy Guggenheim (PG), SRG's niece, directed the Guggenheim Jeune in London (1938 to 1939), followed by Art of This Century in New York (1942-1947). It is here that PG began to amass a personal collection of Surrealist and abstract art, later to be known as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection (PGC). In 1961 after PG's move to Venice and her purchase of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on Venice's Grand Canal to display her collection, Thomas M. Messer, third director of the SRGM, began a long term relationship with PG. On July 17, 1975, the PGF approved the transfer of the PGC to the SRGF. 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.
Scope and Content Abstract:
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, correspondence with SRGM staff, and press clippings detailing PG, the Guggenheim family, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. Highlights of the collection include transcripts of Thomas M. Messer's interview with PG as well as brochures of events and exhibitions at the Palazzo from 1982-1990.
Location:
CF; OS
Language:
Collection is primarily in English.
Arrangement:
Organized into 4 series: 1. Background; 2. Guggenheim Jeune; 3. Art of This Century; and 4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Restrictions:
Unless indicated in the folder list, the collection is unrestricted.
Publication Rights:
Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Director of the Library and Archives.
Preferred Citation:
Collection on Peggy Guggenheim. A0022. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY.
Subjects:
Art of This Century.
Guggenheim Jeune.
Guggenheim, Peggy, 1898-1979
Palazzo Venier del Leoni.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
Contributors:
Guggenheim, Harry Frank, 1890-1971.
Lawson-Johnston, Peter O.
Messer, Thomas M.
Rebay, Hilla, 1890-1967.
Sweeney, James Johnson, 1900-
Related Materials:
Peggy Guggenheim Foundation papers. M0002. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum Archives, New York, NY.
Finding aid prepared by Francine Snyder in March 2007.

Historical Note

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. 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.

Chronology of Galleries owned by Peggy Guggenheim

1938-1939Guggenheim Jeune
1942-1947Art of This Century
1949-1979Palazzo Venier del Leoni

Chronology of Directors at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

1939-1952Hilla von Rebay
1952 -1960James Johnson Sweeney
1961-1987Thomas M. Messer
1988-2006Thomas Krens
2006-2008Lisa Dennison
2008-present (2013)Richard Armstrong

Bibliography

Guggenheim, Peggy. Out of This Century: Confessions of an Art Addict. New York: Universe Books, 1946, 1960, 1979.
New York Times, "Peggy Guggenheim Is Dead at 81; Known for Modern Art Collection," December 24, 1979.
Tacou-Reumney, Laurence. Peggy Guggenheim. Paris, New York: Fammarion, 1996.
Vail, Karole P.B. Peggy Guggenheim: A Celebration. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc, 1998.
Weld, Jacqueline Bograd. Peggy: The Wayward Guggenheim. New York: Dutton. 1986.

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.

Series Descriptions

Series 1. Background, 1946-1993, 2005, 3.4 cubic ft. (6 boxes)
Summary: Series 1. Background contains basic information on Peggy Guggenheim (PG), her collection, and her family. The correspondence folders contain copies of personal correspondence to Peggy Guggenheim from Djuna Barnes, Herbert Read, and artists such as Joan MirĂ³ and Alan Ginsberg. The original correspondence is owned by a private collector. Within the interviews, the CBS folder contains information on the interview conducted by CBS of PG in 1979 and 1981. The highlight of the series is the interview of PG by Thomas M. Messer. This interview, originally recorded on 'executary' tapes, has been digitized. Partial transcripts and CDs are in the collection. Also of interest are publicity photographs of PG, scrapbooks of press clippings, and two exhibition scrapbooks.
Arrangement: Alphabetical
Series 2. Guggenheim Jeune, 1938-1939, circa 1985, .1 cubic ft. (1 box)
Summary: Series 2. Guggenheim Jeune contains correspondence on Guggenheim Jeune letterhead, photographic reproductions of catalogs, brochures, and/or invites from the exhibitions at Guggenheim Jeune in 1938-1939. The photographic reproductions were created for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice catalog published in 1985. Originals are located in the Peggy Guggenheim's scrapbooks in archives collection: Peggy Guggenheim Foundation papers. M0002. Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York, NY.
Arrangement: Alphabetical
Series 3. Art of This Century, 1942, 1984-1991, .4 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
Summary: Series 3. Art of This Century contains photographic reproductions of catalogs, brochures, and/or invites from the exhibitions at the Art of This Century gallery in 1942-1947, and an announcement of a publication on the gallery. There are a handful of photographs of installation views, one with Frederick Kiesler asleep in a chair. The photographic reproductions were created for the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice catalog published in 1985. Originals are located in the Peggy Guggenheim's scrapbooks in archives collection: Peggy Guggenheim Foundation papers. M0002. Solomon R. Guggenheim Archives, New York, NY. The essay, "Die Kunst der Ausstellung" was written by Thomas M. Messer on the Art of This Century gallery.
Arrangement: Alphabetical
Series 4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, 1953-1992, 1.5 cubic ft. (6 boxes)
Summary: Series 4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection (PGC) contains records pertaining to the PGC, Peggy Guggenheim's (PG) personal collection of artwork. The bulk of the correspondence is between PG and Solomon R Guggenheim Museum (SRGM) staff including James Johnson Sweeney, Thomas M. Messer, 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. Correspondence is arranged chronologically with related subjects in the same folders. Folders are dated using the date of the first correspondence. Aside from one example (Orangerie des Tuileries exhibition brochure fragment), the remainder of this collection consists of event, exhibition, general, and publication records at the Palazzo in Venice after PG's death. Event and exhibition folders contain printed brochures, invites, and press clippings. The exception is Tauromaquia and Six Modern Painters exhibition folders which includes checklists. Publication folders contain detailed files on the publications of catalogs on the PGC. General folders contain information on the daily functions at the Palazzo including collection brochures, measurements of the exhibition space, lists of the collection, photographing the collection, information on the object files, and limited files on the studentship program.
Arrangement: Alphabetical

Folder List

Series 1. Background, 1946-1993, 2005, 3.4 cubic ft. (6 boxes)
BoxFolderTitleDate
45231Biographyundated
45232Chronologyundated
45233-5Correspondence copies (3 folders)1946-1977
45236Correspondence: Regarding "Confessions of an Art Addict" (restricted)1960
Interviews
45237CBS1991
4523,
4524
8-11, 1-2Peggy Guggenheim with Thomas M. Messer (6 folders)1974, 2005
100585,
786285
Newspaper Clippings: Original and copies (2 boxes)1957-1993
45243-7Photographs (5 folders)undated, 1960s-1976
45248Portrait of Peggy Guggenheim from 1926 (repro)undated
45249Research: Ruth Ivor photographs1986-87
Scrapbooks
452410"Book Reviews"1960-1961, 1972
452411"Clippings"1957-1974
000512Exhibition: "Guggenheim Venezia - New York, 60 Opere 1900-1950" (SRGM: Jan. 23 - Mar. 28, 1982)1982
000512Exhibition: "Works from the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation" (SRGM: Jan. 16 - Mar. 23, 1969)1969
45251"Peggy Gives Her Collection to Venice"1961
45252"Peggy's Paintings - Lost and Found"1971-1972
45253"The Tate Gallery Show"1964-1965
45254Writings: Intro Written by Peggy Guggenheim (repro)1968 July
Series 2. Guggenheim Jeune, 1938-1939, circa 1985, .1 cubic ft. (1 box)
BoxFolderTitleDate
Correspondence
45255Hilla von Rebay to Peggy Guggenheim1938?
45256Peggy Guggenheim to Hilla von RebayMarch 17, 1938
45257Peggy Guggenheim to Solomon R. Guggenheim1938?
45258Peggy Guggenheim to Solomon R. and Irene GuggenheimFebruary 15, 1938
45259-29Exhibitions (1938-1939): Reproductions (21 folders)circa 1985
Series 3. Art of This Century, 1942, 1984-1991, .4 cubic ft. (2 boxes)
BoxFolderTitleDate
Exhibitions (1942-1947)
452530Photograph: Installation View1942
4525,
4526
31-38, 1-44Reproductions (52 folders)circa 1985
Publications (3 folders)
452645Essay: "Die Kunst der Ausstellung"1988-1991
452646-47Reproductions (2 folders)circa 1985
452648Research: Frederick Kieslerundated
Series 4. Peggy Guggenheim Collection, 1953-1992, 1.5 cubic ft. (6 boxes)
BoxFolderTitleDate
4526,
4527,
5051
49, 1-10, 1General (12 folders)undated, 1968-1990
4527,
4528
11-39, 1-50Correspondence (79 folders, 25 restricted)1953-1983
Event
50512Carnevale di Venezia1985
452851General Invitesundated, 1982-1988
4528,
5051
52-54, 3Premio (4 folders)1982-1986
452855Photograph; visitors in galleryundated
Exhibitions
45291-360 Works (3 folders)1982-1983
45294Arte Moderna e Contemporanea a Confronto1990-1991
45295Isamu Noguchi1986
4529,
5051
6, 4Jackson Pollack (2 folders)1984
45297-8Jean DuBuffet and Art Brut (2 folders)1986
50515Nove Artisti della "Scuola di New York" alle Gallerie dell'Accademia di Venezia1985
45299-10Omaggio a Lucio Fontana (2 folders)1988-1989
452911Omaggio a Gastone Novelli1992
452912Orangerie des Tuileries1974-1975
452913-16Peggy Guggenheim's Other Legacy (4 folders) 1987-1988
452917Re-Opening of Peggy Guggenheim Collection1981
452918Selections from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection1987
452919Six Modern Painters1985
452920-21Tauromaquia (2 folders)1985
452922Tre Artisti Italo-Americani1988
50516Press releases1988
Publications
452923-2760 Works (5 folders)undated, 1982
452928-32100 Works (5 folders)undated, 1981-1982
452933-35Peggy Guggenheim Collection Catalog (3 folders)1982-1984
4529,
4530
36-37, 1-9Peggy Guggenheim Collection Handbook (11 folders)1982-1983
453010-12Promotional Materials (3 folders)1980-1981
453013Research: Alberto Giacometti1980