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Peggy Guggenheim ~ Art Addict

Peggy Guggenheim is a name that is synonymous with the art world, and her legacy lives on in her iconic collection of contemporary art housed in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice, Italy. But Peggy's impact on Venice goes far beyond her impressive collection of art; her love affair with the city itself was legendary, and she played a crucial role in turning Venice into a hub for contemporary art.

Peggy Guggenheim was born into a wealthy family in New York in 1898. After the death of her father on the Titanic in 1912, she inherited a significant amount of money, which she used to support her passion for art. Peggy began collecting art in the 1920s and quickly became known for her eye for emerging artists. She was a champion of the avant-garde and took risks on artists that other collectors wouldn't touch, including Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning.

In 1949, Peggy moved to Venice, where she purchased the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal. She transformed the palazzo into her home and a showcase for her art collection. She lived in the Palazzo for the rest of her life, and it became a gathering place for artists and intellectuals from all over the world. While Peggy Guggenheim is perhaps best known for her love of art, she also had a colorful personal life that was the subject of much gossip and scandal. She was married twice, but both marriages were short-lived and ended in divorce. Peggy had numerous affairs with both men and women, including artists Max Ernst and Samuel Beckett. She once famously declared that she had slept with 1,000 men. Peggy's quotes were often controversial and provocative, and she was known for her sharp wit and irreverence. Despite the scandal that surrounded her personal life, Peggy Guggenheim's contributions to the art world cannot be overstated, and her legacy continues to inspire generations of artists and art lovers.

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is now one of the most significant museums of contemporary art in Europe. The collection features works from some of the most important artists of the 20th century, including Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, and Max Ernst. The palazzo itself is also an architectural gem, with its imposing white facade and sweeping views of the Grand Canal.

But it's not just the art and the palazzo that make the Peggy Guggenheim Collection a must-visit destination in Venice. It's also the spirit of Peggy herself that permeates the museum. Her unconventional approach to art collecting and her willingness to take risks on new and emerging artists continue to inspire visitors today.

If you're planning a trip to Venice, a visit to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection should be at the top of your list. It's a must-see destination for art lovers and anyone interested in the history of contemporary art. And if you're lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the spirit of Peggy herself, still alive and well in her beloved palazzo on the Grand Canal.

Best Quotes by Peggy Guggenheim

“It is always assumed that Venice is the ideal place for a honeymoon. This is a grave error. To live in Venice or even to visit it means that you fall in love with the city itself. There is nothing left over in your heart for anyone else."

“I look back on my life with great joy. I think it was a very successful life. I always did what I wanted and never cared what anyone thought”.

“I took advice from none but the best. I listened, how I listened! That's how I finally became my own expert.”

“I was a liberated woman long before there was a name for it.”

[On amassing art for her collection:] “My motto was 'Buy a picture a day' and I lived up to it.”

[On Venice:] “Every hour of the day is a miracle of light. In summer with daybreak the rising sun produces such a tender magic on the water that it nearly breaks one's heart”.

“If anything can rival Venice in its beauty, it must be its reflection at sunset in the Grand Canal.”

[When asked how many husbands she had had:] “My own, or other people's?”

“Venice is not only a city of fantasy and freedom. It is also a city of joy and pleasure.”

“Peace was the one thing that Max (Ernst) needed in order to paint, and love was the one thing I needed in order to live. As neither of us gave the other what he most desired, our union was doomed to failure.”

“To go out in a gondola at night is to reconstruct in one's imagination the true Venice, the Venice of the past alive with romance, elopements, abductions, revenged passions, intrigues, adulteries, denouncements, unaccountable deaths, gambling, lute playing and singing.”


The Documentary “Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict”  tells the story of one of the 20th century's most important art collectors. Guggenheim was known for her many lovers but director Lisa Immordono Vreeland says she left an “amazing legacy". 


Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
Dorsoduro 701
I-30123 Venice

tel: +39 041 2405 411

Places to Stay

Plinius No. 048: 4 Guests | 2 BR | 1 BA | Located in an old Palazzo on one of the nicest canals of Venice

Plinius No. 011:  3 Guests | 2 BR | 1 BA | Beautiful design Palazzo in the heart of Venice

Plinius No. 022: 6 Guests | 3 BR | 2 BA | Design apartment in the heart of Venice

Plinius No. 007: 6 Guests | 3 BR | 3 BA | Pool | Contemporary architecture in rolling hills near Padua | 1 hour from Venice 

Julia Flore Hoekstra