was a famous art collector in the early
to mid 1900s. Although she's often associated
with her wealthy family connections, Peggy
was highly influential in promoting up
and coming bohemian and avant-garde artists
of the time and her collection has had
historical significance in promoting modern
Guggenheim was born on August 26, 1898
in New York City to Marguerite and Benjamin
Guggenheim who later died in the 1912
sinking of the Titanic. Despite the loss
of her father at an early age, Guggenheim
was brought up with in a very privileged
and wealthy lifestyle in which she enjoyed
the high society of New York.
of continuing on to college after high
school, Guggenheim decided to join the
war effort in support of the first World
War and eventually ended up as a clerk
in a small bookstore. It was at the store
that she first came into contact with
the bohemian artist community and was
astonished by the writers and visual artists
that surrounded her in New York. While
she managed to inherit a small fortune
at the age of 21, Guggenheim was more
interested in her artistic interests than
high society and moved to Paris in 1920
to focus on art.
culture immediately exposed her to an
even greater society of avant-garde writers
and artists. Peggy Guggenheim began befriending
them in order to learn more about their
lives and art. Some of her friends at
the time included Man Ray, Constantin
Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and Djuna Barnes.
Guggenheim quickly decided to promote
this new art and opened a gallary in 1938
in London. She named it Guggenheim Jeune.
after the outbreak of World War II, Guggenheim
purchased as much abstract art as possible
in order to fill her gallery. She worked
hard promoting local and French artists
during her first year, but quickly realized
her gallery ran at a loss instead of a
profit. Focusing her attention on preserving
rather than selling art, Guggenheim closed
her gallery in 1939 and focused on building
the Museum of Modern Art in London.
Guggenheim, in partnership with Herbert
Read, began planning the museum. Read
gave Guggenheim a list of artists whose
art they were hoping to purchase in order
to fill the space. Armed with the list
and luggage, Guggenheim set off to Paris
to secure a loan. Less than a month later,
World War II broke out and Guggenheim
and Read had to abandon their plans. List
in hand, however, Guggenheim set out to
find Read's artists and purchase any and
all available artwork they had.
was able to purchase a number of paintings
by Picasso, Ernst, Man Ray, Dali, and
Chagall before fleeing Europe in 1941.
Artwork in hand, Guggenheim opened up
a museum/gallery in New York to both preserve
and sell old and new artwork. She was
highly influential in the careers of Jackson
Pollock, Verdun Howell, and Max Ernst,
a man she later married and divorced.
1946 Guggenheim left New York and closed
her gallery. She moved to Venice where
she continued to collect art and, instead
of opening her own museums, lent her art
to other venues and museums in Europe
and America. By the 1960s she stopped
acquiring art and, instead, focused her
attention on sharing it.
Guggenheim lived in Europe until she died
on December 23, 1979. She is credited
with being one of the most influential
promoters of American modern artists.
Peggy Guggenheim biography may
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