Peggy Guggenheim: Her Life and Legacy

Courtauld Institute of Art

Jacky Klein is an art historian and Associate Lecturer at the Courtauld Institute of Art master’s program. She previously worked as a curator at several leading London galleries (including the Tate), and is the author of a bestselling book on British artist Grayson Perry and co-author of several other titles, including Alfred Cohen: An American Artist in Europe, Body of Art, and What is Contemporary Art? She lectures each year in Venice on Peggy Guggenheim and leads tours of her art collection at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni.

 

 

Overview

How did the socialite and muse, Peggy Guggenheim, become one of the greatest collectors in the history of modern art? Friends with the leading cultural figures of her day – including Jean Cocteau, Scott Fitzgerald, Ian Fleming, Marlon Brando, Louise Bourgeois and Igor Stravinsky – she was photographed by Man Ray and Lee Miller, took advice from Marcel Duchamp, and married the artist Max Ernst (among others). She moved with ease between the social elites of New York and the bohemia of Paris. In this lecture, art historian Jacky Klein will reveal why – seemingly out of the blue – Guggenheim started collecting contemporary art in the 1930s; what impact her galleries in London and New York had on artists and the wider art world; how and why her name became inextricably linked with the city of Venice; and ultimately, how a New York heiress played such a pivotal role in the making of mid-century Modernism.

 

Suggested Reading:

Mistress of Modernism: The Life of Peggy Guggenheim, by Mary V. Dearborn

Peggy Guggenheim: The Life of an Art Addict, by Anton Gill

Out of This Century: The Autobiography of Peggy Guggenheim, by Peggy Guggenheim

Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern, by Francine Prose

Peggy Guggenheim: A Celebration, by Karole Vail and Thomas Messner — exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum in New York

 

Discussion Questions:

  1. In what ways did Peggy Guggenheim’s early life shape her career as a collector and gallerist?
  2. Was Peggy Guggenheim’s use of art advisors a sign of weakness or strength in your view?
  3. How did Guggenheim use her relationships with male artists to advance her collection? Was it a successful tactic?
  4. What role did personal and family tragedy play in Guggenheim’s life and how did it affect her career?
  5. Guggenheim was one of the earliest and most important women collectors. In what ways do you think her gender helped or hindered her career?

 

 

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Anonymous

Peggy Guggenheim

Fabulose lecture.
I hope there will be many more from Jacky Klein

3 months ago
Joy Morros

Really great. Clearly presented and fascinating.

3 months ago
Sylvia Rosas

P. G comes alive —Excellent!

Enjoyed the lecture very much. Very well organized and energetically presented.

3 months ago
marianne bernsen

THANKS FOR DOING YOUR BACKGROUND INFO so well.
Nicely done.

3 months ago
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