Dorsoduro is home to the two most important art galleries in Venice; the Gallerie dell’Accademia which houses a magnificent collection of European and especially Venetian painting from the 14th to the 18th centuries, and the Peggy Guggenheim Collection which brings together the works of around 200 surrealist, futurist and abstract expressionist artists. Being more of a Modernist than a Classicist, I went to the Goog and saved the Accademia for next time.
Peggy Guggenheim was an American heiress who, in 1919 when she was 21, inherited US$2.5 million (equivalent to US$36.9 million in 2019) after her father died on the Titanic. She used her inheritance to collect and exhibit works by many major European and American modern artists, and several minor ones as well. She was married to Max Ernst for a while but had many lovers in the artistic and literary worlds. Her biographer believes she slept with over one thousand men during her time in Europe.
In 1949 she established herself and her collection at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal in Venice where she remained until her death in 1979.
The building is much older and smaller than the other Guggenheim museums in Bilbao and NYC but the collection is the most comprehensive I have ever seen in terms of the range of famous artists on display. To get the best view of the works of art and their information cards, I recommend clicking on the photos and looking at them in full screen mode.
I wish I could say that the exhibition was a load of Pollocks, but there were only two.
The most eye-catching work on display is Marino Marini’s ‘Angel of the City’, a bronze male nude in a state of excitement, astride a horse looking out over the Grand Canal.
The collection is definitely worth the entrance fee but time it to avoid the crowds as the museum building is quite small.
Over the water to San Marco next…