Looking out onto Venice’s Grand Canal, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection must surely be one of the most well situated art museums in the world. Dedicated to modern art, the museum is fascinating both for the wonderful works that it contains, and as a monument to the remarkable woman who gives it its name.
Four museums around the world
In 1949, Peggy Guggenheim, a member of the fantastically wealthy Guggenheim family of New York, bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a single story mansion overlooking the Grand Canal in Venice. Dubbed the palazzo non compiuto (unfinished palazzo) due to its lack of height – originally the Palazzo Venier had been intended to have five stories – Guggenheim transformed the space into a home for her substantial art collection, and used the garden to house the sculptures.
In 1951, Guggenheim began to open her home to the public three days a week, and continued to do so until her death in 1979. After her death the Palazzo Venier became a full-time museum, under the control of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection has four sister museums: in New York, Bilbao, and Abu Dhabi, but it is only the Guggenheim in Venice that has a history so intimately connected to that of its patron.
From New York to Venice
Guggenheim lived in Venice for three decades, and became as much of an attraction as her wonderful collection did. Modern art marvel Guggenheim acted as a patron to a significant number of modern artists during the first half of the 20th century, with a focus on American artists, such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. When in America during World War II, Guggenheim opened The Art of This Century Gallery in New York, and provided many soon to be household names with invaluable exposure to the public and collectors. Amongst the many notable exhibitions held by Guggenheim was the ‘Exhibition by 31 Women’, which focused on female artists’ contribution to the Surrealist movement. It was this avant-garde spirit that Guggenheim brought to Venice in 1949.
Before her relocation to the city, American modern art had been underrepresented in Venetian museums and collections, and Guggenheim introduced the people of Venice to many artists such as Robert Motherwell, William Baziotes, and Hans Hofmann. In addition to a large cross-section of modern American art, Guggenheim also acquired works by significant European Surrealists, Cubists, and Abstract Expressionists such as Max Ernst, Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp, and René Magritte.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection affords the visitor an unbroken view of the progression of early 20th century art from both America and Europe, and enables one to compare and contrast work being made at the same time, but in very different circumstances.
Plan your visit
Open every day of the week from
10am to 6pm, closed on Tuesdays
Entrance fees: €15 for adults,
€13 for senior visitors over 65,
€9 for students under 26 (with current student ID),
free for children under 10 and members.
Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni,
Dorsoduro 701, I-30123
Tel.: +39 041 2405 411
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