An insider's look at Peggy Guggenheim: A Collection in Venice

Aston homeward bound

Our Venice intern Aston is returning to Perth after an exciting stint overseas. She shared with us some of her experiences within the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.


As a Peggy Guggenheim Collection intern, one of the major requirements I’ve found is knowing your stuff and being able to articulate it – in any number of languages. After months of researching, studying, cramming and managing that stomach flip that inevitably comes at the thought of public speaking, we avid pupils of the PGC have been delivering talks, guides and tours to globetrotting visitors. We love to share the history of the works, the collection and the many stories intricately embedded within it.


It’s important to understand that the Peggy Guggenheim Collection was born not through any sort of financial motivation, but rather as a result of the unique and enduring way in which Peggy Guggenheim herself encouraged and supported the art movements and artists of her time. It was this initiative which served to build the foundations for her incredibly significant collection of modern art.


FYI (Yes, People Really Do Ask Me These Questions):


Q: What is the most popular piece in the collection?

A: Rene Magritte’s Empire of Light is the visitor’s pick every time.


Q: What’s so good about these paintings?

A: Well, to sum it up, Abstraction revolutionised the world of art. It was the first time since the Renaissance that artists didn’t use form, colour and line to create the illusion of perspective in order to represent the physical environment. It also marked the first time artists were able to create art purely for the purpose of self-expression, rather than being confined to commissions by the Church or private patrons. This made it possible for artists to convey aspects of contemporary society and reflect the social and intellectual preoccupations in all areas of Western culture during that time. The purpose of Abstract art is not to represent things as they appear in reality. It is a visual language that artists have developed so that they could express ideas, emotions and responses to the world around them. Abstract art is important!


Q: Wow, her style is diverse. Did she really paint all these?

A: Please tell me you just joined the group.


Q: Did she really call one of her dogs Cappuccino?

A: Yes, she really did.


Q: Oh, cappuccino. Where’s the cafe?

A: Sigh.





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