Guggenheim, Peggy

Guggenheim, Peggy

(Marguerite Guggenheim), 1898–1979, American modern art patron and collector, b. New York City. The daughter of Benjamin, niece of Solomon, and grand-daughter of Meyer GuggenheimGuggenheim
, family of American industrialists and philanthropists. Meyer Guggenheim, 1828–1905, b. Aargau canton, Switzerland, emigrated (1847) to the United States, prospered as a retail merchant in Philadelphia, and in time built up a flourishing business
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, she grew up in luxury, inherited a fortune, and became a friend, patron, and sometime lover to a number of avant-garde artists and writers. She moved to Paris (1930) and then to London, where she opened (1938) Guggenheim Jeune, a gallery showing mainly abstract and surrealist art, e.g., works by BrancusiBrancusi, Constantin
, 1876–1957, Romanian sculptor. Brancusi is considered one of the foremost of modern artists. In 1904 he went to Paris, where he worked under Mercié. He declined Rodin's invitation to work in his studio.
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, KandinskyKandinsky, Wassily or Vasily
, 1866–1944, Russian abstract painter and theorist. Usually regarded as the originator of abstract art, Kandinsky abandoned a legal career for painting at 30 when he moved to Munich.
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, MagritteMagritte, René
, 1898–1967, Belgian surrealist painter. Strongly influenced by Chirico, Magritte developed a style in which a misleading sort of realism is combined with mocking irony.
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, and Max ErnstErnst, Max
1891–1976, German painter. After World War I, Ernst joined the Dada movement in Paris and then became a founder of surrealism. Apart from the medium of collage, for which he is well known, Ernst developed other devices to express his fantastic vision.
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, whom she married (and divorced). World War II impelled her return (1941) to New York, where she opened (1942) Art of This Century, one of the earliest and most important venues for abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, a movement whose artists she actively supported. Guggenheim amassed a superb collection of modern art, which was installed in her Venice palazzo when she moved there in 1946. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is now administered by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.


See her memoirs (1946 and 1960, combined and upd. 1980); biographies by J. B. Weld (1986) and A. Gill (2002); L. Flint, Handbook: The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (1983), L. Tacou-Rumney, Peggy Guggenheim: A Collector's Album (1996).

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Guggenheim, (Marguerite) Peggy

(1898–1979) art collector, patron; born in New York City (niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim). She graduated from the Jacobi School, New York City, (1915), became a radical bohemian, and settled in Paris soon after the end of World War I. She married young, was divorced (1930), and then was married to Max Ernst (1941–46). She opened a modern art gallery in England, the Guggenheim Jeune (1938), where she exhibited and collected works by avant-garde artists. In 1939 she was in France buying modern works suggested by the art critic, Herbert Read. She escaped the German invasion of Paris and arrived in New York City with her children and her art collection (1941). She opened a new art gallery, Art of This Century (1942). In 1946 she divorced Ernst, moved to Venice, and established a new gallery in her villa there. Her memoirs, Out of This Century (1946) and Confessions of an Art Addict (1960), were notorious for the details of her love life. Her collection and the Venice gallery were donated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.