Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Venice, Italy
Kirker Holidays

The Peggy Guggenheim Collection (Vaporetto stop: Salute or Accademia) is housed in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which was her home until her death in 1979 and has become one of the major cultural attractions in Venice.

Peggy Guggenheim was born in New York, the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, one of seven brothers who had created a vast industrial fortune in the late nineteenth century. Peggy’s father died on the Titanic in 1912, but she went on to travel to Europe in 1921, where she found herself at the heart of American expatriate society, first in London, and then in Paris, making friends with Djuna Barnes, Marcel Duchamp and Samuel Beckett among others. She opened her first gallery in 1938, in London, where she exhibited the latest abstract and surrealist while beginning her personal collection with works by Georges Braque, Salvador Dalí, Robert Delaunay, Piet Mondrian and Francis Picabia.

After returning to New York during WW2, where she was an early supporter of Jackson Pollock and the Abstract Expressionists, she returned to Europe in time for the 1948 Venice Biennale. She acquired the unfinished Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal, where she spent the rest of her life, continuing to exhibit throughout Europe and building her collection with works by Francis Bacon, Kenzo Okada, Graham Sutherland and others. Peggy died in 1979, having donated the palazzo and her art collection to the New York Foundation established by her uncle Solomon R. Guggenheim.

Today it remains one of the world’s great art collections, with highlights including works by de Chirico, Braque, Duchamp, Léger, Miró and Picasso as well as Dalí’s ‘Birth of Liquid Desires’, Kandinsky’s ‘Landscape with Red Spots’, and Magritte’s wonderful ‘Empire of Light’. The lovely sculpture garden is a particular highlight.

Closed on Tuesdays. Contact the Kirker Concierge to pre-book your entrance tickets.

Photography: © Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Photo Matteo De Fina

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