The Patron of Venice

Peggy Guggenheim At Home by Nino Migliori

One of the 20th century’s greatest lovers of art (and most ardent lovers in general, with innumerable tempestuous flings to her name), Peggy Guggenheim purchased the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice in 1949 and proceeded to decorate it with her era-defining collection of surrealist and abstract expressionist artworks. The 18th-century palace had been owned in the 20s by the extravagantly eccentric muse and socialite  Marchesa Luisa Casati, but Guggenheim gave it her own touch with early drip paintings by Jackson Pollock (who mounted his first solo exhibition at her Art of This Century gallery in New York in 1943) alongside works by Constantin Brancusi and Georges Braque, and a magnificent headboard custom-designed by Alexander Calder. Though the palace has long functioned as a museum (from 1951 onwards, Guggenheim invited the public to view her collection in the summer months), the heiress continued to live there until her death in 1979. One of the many visitors to the palace during this period was Nino Migliori, a photographer who shared Guggenheim’s love of abstract expressionism and had been experimenting with non-representational close-ups and darkroom techniques since the ’40s. An exhibition of his images of Guggenheim in repose at the palace in 1958—an exclusive selection of which we present here—opens this month at the same site, now known as the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. The images will be on display through July 26.

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Conversations (1)

  • Debra Zeller
    This trip sounds splendid. A wonderful itinerary.

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