The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is among the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The collection contains works by Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Georges Braque, Wassily Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Rene Magritte and Peggy Guggenheim’s first husband Max Ernst. Guggenheim amassed most of this impressive collection in the very early stages of World War 2. As the Nazis were laying siege to Paris, she had the works spirited to New York hidden among her things. After the war, she returned to Europe where she opened a gallery and museum, first in Paris and then in Venice. Her collection is now one of Venice’s top tourist attractions.
In addition to the permanent collection, the museum was showing a small exhibition revolving around one of Peggy Guggenheim’s favourite painting: Picasso’s On the Beach (main picture above). The show gathers a selection of ten drawings, three paintings and a sculpture, made by Picasso between February and December 1937. Interestingly, at this time Picasso was working on Guernica, arguably his most famous work, yet these pieces show little of the political activism and angst that is so evident there. They are playful and, as these images reveal, full of interesting technique and detail.
There is also an exhibition of the work of Pegeen Vail Guggenheim, Peggy’s daughter who was an artist working in a naive style that is both colourful and impactful.