The Peggy Guggenheim Collection of Modern Art in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal is one of the finest collections of the art of the twentieth century in Europe and was the museum that launched the notion of the Guggenheim abroad (New York, Spain, Italy, Germany), It was Peggy Guggenheim’s third and final attempt at creating a Museum or gallery (The Guggenheim Jeune, London, 1938-39, Art of this Century Gallery, New York, 1942-1947). She returned to Europe in 1948 and settled in Venice, the city she loved best, with her formidable collection and set up her museum home, where she lived till her death in 1979.She initially housed and displayed her collection at the vacant Greek Pavillion of the Venice Bienalle in 1948 till she settled in the Palazzo Venier.In this paper, I would like to explore the paradox of the anti-museum, anti-art rhetoric versus the reality of canonization. Like those dizzying and idiosyncratic shops in the underground arcades of Paris that lead “a toutes des grands boulevards”, the avant-garde not only spilled into the mainstream but became the mainstream or standard for art in the twentieth century and continues its reign in our time. The Peggy Guggenheim museum, positioned as it is between the great art and monuments of the Renaissance and the contemporary exhibitions of the Biennale, provides an opportunity to examine the issue of posterity in art and monumentality, as these relate to overthrowing or continuing past tradition.
|Keywords:||Twentieth Century Art, Surrealism, Avant-garde Movements, Peggy Guggenheim, Classicism, Modern Art Museums, Abstract Expressionism|
Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Department of Comparative Literature and Languages, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, USA
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