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Article: The World According to Peggy Guggenheim

The World According to Peggy Guggenheim

If we had to pick a woman whose style and attitude epitomises the Mondo spirit, it has to be Peggy Guggenheim. A trailblazing art collector whose life was just as colourful as the modern art she amassed, Guggenheim lived and loved eccentrically and irreverently. Despite her sizeable collection of  Lhasa Apso dogs (she had 14 over the course of her life) and modern art, she rarely shopped for clothes, limiting new outfits to two to three a year - a ‘buy less, buy better’ outlook that we very much share here at Mondo. Read on to discover how to live more like Peggy Guggenheim (just without the priceless art, perhaps).

In with the new!

Guggenheim is credited with discovering some of the world’s most celebrated modern artists. Inspired by the surrealism exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in 1936, she started a gallery to showcase the work of emerging artists,  giving Wassily Kandinsky his first ever exhibition in London. Later, in 1950, she exhibited the work of a then relatively unknown Jackson Pollock at Venice’s Museo Correr.

Art should be enjoyed

Guggenheim’s irreverent spirit was expressed through not only her personal style, but also in her approach to art. Firm in the belief that art ought to be enjoyed - and even worn - for the opening night of her Manhattan museum-gallery, Art of This Century, Guggenheim wore one earring made for her by Calder and another by Yves Tanguy. Later, every summer from 1951, she even opened her Venice home (the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal)  to the public, so they could view her incredible collection of art.

Surround yourself with creatives

She may have been born in New York, but Peggy Guggenheim lived - and loved - in Paris for 22 years. It was there she accumulated a circle of artist and writer friends, which included Marcel Duchamp, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Max Ernst (who she ended up marrying - and divorcing two years later). These individuals had a huge impact on Guggenheim’s artistic sensibilities, not least because they introduced her to the likes of Jean Cocteau and Geer Van Velde, artists to whom she would become patron.

Dogs are a woman’s best friend

Wherever Guggenheim went, a collection of furry friends followed (even on her private gondola). She loved her Lhasa Apso dogs like children, so much so that after her death in 1979, her ashes were interred near to the burial grounds of her 14 dogs. Upon visiting Guggenheim’s Venetian Palazzo today, visitors can view the memorial stone to Cappuccino, Peacock, Pegeen, Toro, Foglia, Madame Butterfly, Baby, Emily, White Angel, Sir Herbert, Sable, Gypsy, Hong Kong, and Cellida.

Portrait of Peggy Guggenheim by Oswald Kofler, 1955

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