Modern art exists in the form we know now not only thanks to the talent of artists who have given us their greatest works but thanks to the people, who were in love with art and want to develop, protect and enjoy the art in all its forms. Such people did not create anything themselves – there mission is to collect masterpieces of art and help them live forever. One of the most vivid examples of such collectors is Peggy Guggenheim who has literally raised the modern art on its feet.
Peggy was born in 1898 in the family of an American manufacturer. However, she considered that America was too boring and prim, so, soon after achieving legal age she moved to France. She entered the world of bohemia and got obsessed with art. Her love of art was really close to obsession.
Peggy began collecting works of art. She concentrated on three styles – abstractionism, surrealism and cubism. In January of 1938 she opened her art gallery in London, where the works of Jean Cocteau, Vasily Candinsky were exhibited. Peggy established the rule of buying at least one picture after every exhibition and she often appeared to be the only buyer as at that time the vanguard art was not so popular. The British customs has once refused to accept the sculptures from Paris offering to declare them as just pieces of marble, bronze and wood. Peggy, however, produced a real storm in mass media and only then the creations of Brancusi, Calder and Arp were recognized as the works of art.
When the situation in Europe became t9oo dangerous due to the World War II Peggy has closed her gallery and returned to America with the collection of paintings of a surrealist Max Ernst who has become her husband afterwards. In New York Peggy has founded a new gallery “Art of This Century”. This gallery had great success. During four years Peggy organized a great number of exhibitions of different painters and helped to develop a new genre of art – abstract expressionism. It was she who noticed the talent of a young Jackson Pollock and awarded him with monthly grant which allowed Pollock to devote his time entirely to painting. She has also organized an exhibition where all works were created by women, and at that time it was quite a challenge for the artistic society.
In 1946 Peggy returned to Europe and chose Venice as her new home. After her death in 1979 her palazzo was opened as a museum which is visited by about 300 thousand tourists every year. Peggy Guggenheim dreamed of people all over the world recognizing the modern art, and her dream has finally come true.
Peggy was not an artist herself, but she devoted all her life to the world of art. Her personal life did not appear to be a success; her children were always on the second place while the works of art remained Peggy’s priority and main obsession throughout her whole life.