Postcard from Venice

Destinations - 27/01/2017 - Article : Barbara Fecchio - Video : Barbara Fecchio

Every chance I get, I immerse myself again in Peggy’s universe, travel back in time, and imagine myself living in Venice in the 1950s. The aura of Marguerite « Peggy » Guggenheim, probably one of the most famous modern art collectors in the world, is still present in one of her main residences, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni in Venice (Italy).

I cannot help but see her pacing on the Marino Marini terrace, surrounded by her dogs, always Lhasa Apsos, hopping around her black linen skirt. She is wearing her butterfly glasses and, of course, earrings created by Calder himself. I can see her choosing a place to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of the Grand Canal, its infinite and dazzling coming and going, before heading back inside and gently stroking her mobile, just because she has the right to. We, however, can only touch with our eyes. She adjusts it and pauses to watch the moving shapes projected on the floor and walls as the rays of the sun encounter the sculpture’s petals.

The works from her collection are not all inside the residence. As soon as you enter the property, you are greeted by Eduardo Chillida’s Stele for Millares (1972), a gift to the Guggenheim collection from Hannelore B. Schulhof, another great American collector who passed away in 2012. In the Nasher sculpture garden, which connects the residence to the temporary exhibit galleries, sculptures take a step back toward the edge of the garden to give way to visitors. Only Anish Kapoor’s black granite sculpture stands tall in the middle of a more protected part of the garden.

A second, smaller garden also hosts sculptures: the Schulhof Sculpture Garden is exclusively dedicated to the Hannelore B. and Rudolph B. Schulhof Collection. This is where I found the most stirring piece, the one I had to touch. The back of Pericle Fazzini’s Grande donna seduta [Sibilla] (1947), is just awaiting a comforting hand.

It was very cold when I walked around these gardens. A thin layer of snow was still covering the grounds. What a spectacle it must have been to see the sculptures disappear in the cold silence of winter…

Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni
704 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venise
Opening hours : 10am – 6pm
Closed on Mondays and December 25th.

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