Peggy Guggenheim: Modern Art and Collecting in New York, London, and Venice with Jennie Hirsh

Peggy Guggenheim: Modern Art and Collecting in New York, London, and Venice with Jennie Hirsh


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This lecture provides an introduction to the rich and colorful life of Peggy Guggenheim, whose name is synonymous with one of the most extensive and exemplary private collections of European and American modernist art currently housed in her former home uniquely perched on the Grand Canal in Venice. Tracing Guggenheim’s adventures from her early travels throughout Europe as a voracious student and then supporter of avant-garde artists under the direction of critic Herbert Read, we will examine her earlier endeavors as a commercial gallerist in London, through her Guggenheim Jeune, and in New York, at her Art of This Century on West 57th St.

Highlights of this conversation include Ms. Guggenheim's critical patronage of artists like Jackson Pollock and Alexander Calder and her collaborations with figures such as Frederick Kiesler, whose unique installation practices at Art of This Century remain some of the most spectacular displays in the history of modern art. We will also examine how she first displayed her collection in the Greek Pavilion of the Venice Biennale in 1948. Finally, drawing on excerpts from her autobiography, we will discuss how her energetic, fierce, and fun-loving personality allowed her to create a collection whose legacy remains an invaluable educational touchstone for modern art and collecting.

Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art, Jennie Hirsh, this interactive seminar will illustrate not only key works by artists such as Piet Mondrian, René Magritte, Max Ernst, and Giorgio de Chirico but also the magical house and garden in which her vision and spirit live on today.

Jennie Hirsh (PhD, Bryn Mawr College) is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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