European Art: 1949-1979
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents a selection of works from its holdings of postwar European painting and sculpture, largely from the period 1949–79, in the museum’s temporary exhibition galleries. This exhibition documents how Peggy Guggenheim continued to collect even after her withdrawal from New York, the center of the artistic avant-garde, in 1947, the year she closed her museum-gallery, Art of This Century. This exhibition is therefore a celebration of Peggy Guggenheim's Venetian life and her residence in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni.
It is also an opportunity to exhibit donations, works that have entered the Foundation since Peggy Guggenheim's death, in 1979. Several sculptures regularly on view in the museum's Nasher Sculpture Garden belong in this category, including works by Germaine Richier, Anthony Caro, Bryan Hunt, Jenny Holzer, Mirko, and Barry Flanagan. Among the many other donations exhibited are Letter to Palladio by Giuseppe Santomaso; early and late paintings by Armando Pizzinato; decoupages by Mimmo Rotella; two paintings by Lucio Fontana, including a 1955 example of "holes" bequeathed in 2011; a major painting by Pierre Alechinsky; an aluminum relief by Heinz Mack; prints by Eduardo Chillida; Homage to the Square by Josef Albers; an "extroflexed" canvas by Agostino Bonalumi; an entire room of sculptures by Mirko, as well as his iconic tempera study for the gates of the Fosse Ardeatine; a late monotype by Emilio Vedova; works by Bice Lazzari, Gastone Novelli, and Toti Scialoja; and two paintings by Carla Accardi, including the magnificent Concentric Blue of 1956.
Opening with a sculpture and a painting by Alberto Giacometti and Marino Marini, respectively, the first three galleries focus on Venetian and Italian art, with particular emphasis on Peggy Guggenheim's circle in the 1950s—Edmondo Bacci, Pizzinato, Santomaso, Tancredi, and Vedova. To these are added paintings by Accardi, Afro, Enrico Baj, Piero Dorazio, and William Congdon. Rooms 4 to 6 are predominantly non-Italian, with a room dedicated to British masters in the 1950s (Kenneth Armitage, Francis Bacon, Alan Davie, Ben Nicholson, Graham Sutherland), and another dedicated to the CoBrA movement in Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam, with paintings by Alechinsky, Karel Appel, and Asger Jorn, as well as Jean Dubuffet. Art Informel works by Lazzari and Scialoja are joined by rarely seen sculptures by Arman, Alberto Guzman, and Zoltan Kemeny, as well as decoupages by Gwyther Irwin and Rotella. Room 7 focuses on "visual research" (with optical works by Franco Costalonga, Victor Vasarely, Manfredo Massironi, Martha Boto, Lazzari and Francesco Sobrino). Room 8 closes the presentation with monochromes by Albers, Fontana, and Bonalumi; wall sculptures by Mack and Gunther Uecker; A Sphere by Arnaldo Pomodoro; embossed prints by Eduardo Chillida; and a major 1960 painting by Novelli, recently donated by the Fondazione Araldi Guinetti.
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