In the world of 20th-century art patronage and art collecting, Peggy Guggenheim was unique. She collected art like nobody else, picking up items that didn’t sell, and works for which there was, as yet, no market, just because she loved them. She bought art, not as an investment, but because she saw something that her own eyes told her was great. She discovered Jackson Pollock when he was a humble carpenter in Solomon Guggenheim’s museum, and gave him his first exhibition in 1950 at the Museo Correr in Venice.
People murmured that Peggy Guggenheim went to bed with so many men (and occasionally women) because it boosted her self-esteem and made her less conscious of her potato-shaped nose. She loved art and sex in about equal measure, but she was also turned on by fame. Asked why she loved Max Ernst, the great Surrealist painter whom she married in 1941, she replied: “Because he’s so beautiful and because he’s so famous.”
Peggy Guggenheim was something more than that: an art collector who believed that some works are worth keeping safe in the collective cultural memory, protecting them against obscurity, as if it were a noble cause.
To us Peggy is a true inspiration.