There are plenty of art museums in Venice, and I visited a few, but the one that really stood out was the only one not entwined with the ancient history of the museum, but rather than modern. Tucked away near the Church of Zitelle in Giudecca, the Peggy Guggenheim museum is a small but excellent collection of works from the early half of the 20th century, and is considered to be Italy's premier collection of this kind.
The works were collected by Peggy Guggenheim, once wife of Max Ernst and niece of the mining magnate, Solomon R. Guggenheim. Their works span Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism, and includes works from Picasso, Dali and Pollock. It also has some excellent work from less well known Italian futurists.
The collection is small, but fantastic, and there are a number of well informed English speaking guides who give regular art history lectures on specific works. It is definitely worth your time popping across the Grand Canal from the Piazza San Marco to take a look.
This is a really peaceful place. There is a garden with some outside sculptures by various artists like Pollock. My son liked walking around in this garden. There are two buildings one with the main collection of painting including Picasso, Deuchamp and Dhali. The other building has visiting art displays.
We talked with our 2 year old about the colours in the pictures and the things he saw in them. He really enjoyed it. There is a cafe and a shop.
Daily 10 am - 6 pm
Closed Tuesdays, January 9, February 20, December 25
Open national holidays, including May 1
The Guggenheim Collection is housed in the 18th century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni which was originally intended to be a four storey palace rising beside the Grand Canal, however it never actually got any further than the ground floor and so the building gets it's nickname Il Palazaao Nonfinito which means "the Unfinished Palace". In 1949 the building was bought by the wealthy American Peggy Guggenheim who was a collector of modern arts covering all modern arts movements.
Peggy Guggeheim died in 1979 and the house is now a museum displaying the collection.This collection includes works by Jackson Pollock, Miró, Pablo Picasso, Kandinsky and many other big names.
There are sculpures laid out in the gardens which are remarkably tranquil and enjoyable with their view of the dome of Santa Maria della Salute. Here is perhaps the most provocative work in the collection, Angelo della Citta by Marino Marini which depicts a man sitting on a horse, erect in all respects.
Like all Venetian museums and galleries, the tickets are not cheap at €12 per adult. Most of the staff appear to be American and so speak English. Most information about the works is given in English as well.
This is one of the two things I really wanted to do in Venice - and it didn't disappoint.
(The other was see Ezra Pound's grave and I just didn't make it so it will have to be next time.)
I was so keen we arrived just before opening time - which was wise because an hour later hordes of people trampled in - many of them saying very stupid things and generally annoying me. I could have hit one man who was making smart comments about a Mondrian.
But I had an hour with the place almost to myself and it was superb. You can be so close to the works of art - and I was very impressed with the young security guards. I believe they are art students. They keep a close eye on you, but are sensitive to your artistic pleasure, if you understand me.
I didn't expect the Jackson Pollock room to have such a powerful effect on me. And the Magritte, so perfectly placed. My husband, who is not HUGE on art agreed that the collection of glass works by Picasso looked superb ranged on shelves in front of a window overlooking the Grand Canal.
Some lovely works by Italian artists including Morani.
The cafe looked great, but I was too shattered to want to eat, and there were some beautiful things in the gift shop, but I was too shattered to want to buy anything.
It is just such an experience. What a wonderful woman Peggy was, such an eye for Art.
I play this game with myself at galleries, about being allowed to take one thing home with me.
I chose on this visit de Chirico's The Red Tower - although the Klee tempted me mightily.
The Unfinished Palace... (its real name is Palazzo Venier dei Leoni). It's known as the unfinished palace because it's only one level - I believe the family who built it ran out of money.
This is well worth a stop in Dorsoduro. (as an added bonus it is not too far of a walk from the Santa Maria Della Salute church).
Peggy was a very very very rich heiress (surely the name gave that away) who settled in Venice in the late 1940s.
This Palazzo was actually her home, but shortly after she moved in she opened some of her collection to the public. It was a modern art museum through and through (she was married to Max Ernst for a time, although I am not sure which came first, her interest in modern art or her marriage to him).
One of my favorites was her outdoor sculpture which is called "Angel of the City" but I just call "*** Horseman". Story has it that she would take off its *** at her many garden parties and give it to a man (men?) she fancied. Go Peggy! Gettin' some nookie.
Her story is absolutely fascinating and certainly far more than I could post here. The website I posted below has her biography, and a complete description of her works, and, when I visited the collection I bought her autobiography "Out of this Century: Confessions of an Art Addict" with a foreword by Gore Vidal. Much like how I felt upon visiting the Riviera - this is true glamour and wealth - old money - and Gore Vidal's foreword surely brought that home. (you can also buy this book on the website below).
Try not to miss this Palazzo.
nota bene: VT censors my use of the word P e n i s.
The Peggy Guggenheim Museum is in a splendid setting - a palazzo on the Grand Canal, with a sculpture garden/ courtyard of trees on the back side. The palazzo stands out on the Grand Canal because it was never finished and is only one story high. It's not too big, but it's full of the best of modern art: Picasso, Magritte, Kandinsky, Chagall, Pollock, Ernst, Dali, and more. You're greeted by a Calder mobile when you first enter.
Peggy used to live here, and as you go through the museum each room is still labelled according to what it used to be - the livingroom, bedroom, dining room, etc.
The rooms are full of natural light, unlike many other museums, and there are beautiful views of the Grand Canal out some of the windows. One room has paintings by Peggy's daughter, Pegeen. Don't miss the statue of the man on horseback on the front terrace. Also the two nightmarish paintings by Peggy's second husband Max Ernst, "The Attirement of the Bride" and "The Anti-Pope".
Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979), who in 1930 became heiress to a small fortune when her father Benjamin Guggenheim went down with the Titanic on route after installing the elevator system in the Eiffel tower, then started to make her mark in the art world.
She never found the great love she searched for but she has had several famous artists and influencal men for lover and some even as a husband.
She once answered when asked how many husbands she had: "you mean, my own or others people's?"
In the late 30'ies she collected art when living in London, later on, when she fled Vichy like many artists did as her, she started an art gallery in New York in the 40'ies.
In 1947 Peggy returned to Europe and she then bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni (more information about the palazzo can be found under the link I wrote down here beneath).
Near the end of her life, Peggy, who had originally dreamed of opening a museum way back in 1939, decided to leave her house and her art to the public to serve as a museum. After her death in 1979, the museum was open in summer only, but it is now open six days a week (closed Tuesdays) year round.
One of the oddest looking of the Grand Canal's palaces, il Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was in fact never completed. It was commissioned in 1749 by Nicolò Venier and designed by Lorenzo Boschetti, who also worked on la Chiesa di San Bárnaba, but financial troubles led Venier to halt the construction. As a result, we were left with a truncated single-floor palazzo, which would have been a grand Neoclassical building had the project been completed. In 1949, Peggy Guggenheim acquired the partial palazzo for her personal use and soon placed here collection of modern art in it for public viewing. Before she died in 1979, she donated the palazzo and her collection to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation which has since continued to run it as a museum. In April 2009, I visited the museum and the peaceful gardens. While the collection was beautiful and included important names, it was not as extraordinary nor as large as I had imagined. Though I do not regret visiting, I found the Peggy Guggenheim Collection somewhat ordinary, so if you are short on time or have to choose, I would suggest skipping this museum.
Note: Photography is strictly forbidden inside the museum, so I have no photos to share.
cont from part 1
There are so many great paintings here ---but photography is not permitted!
However, mobile phones are allowed!
This infuriates me because I want to spend time taking a good photo rather than sneaking a shot with a mobile phone!
Anyway, do enjoy some of the photos from outside!
There's a shop, clean toilets, a cafe etc etc
Do visit this gallery ----if you do nothing else gallery-orientated in you stay!
Would I return here next time I'm in Venice? YES!
This was such an amazing experience! Even if you are not into 20th Century artwork this would almost definately amaze you!
This is just one of her art collections around the world.
It's in a building on the left bank of the Grand Canal (St.Mark's being on the right bank) and is close to the new Comtemporary Art gallery and the Academie.
Outside their are so many inspiring sculptures and inside there are so many great paintings!
cont. on my Peggy Guggenheim Collection part 2.
With the collections of contemporary art of François Pinault in Palazzo Grassi and now at the Punta della Dogana, as well as the Biennale of Venice, the capital of the Lagoon belongs to the headlight cities of the contemporary art. (I did not mention here the Peggy Guggenheim museum more concerned with Modern art).
But the average tourist who visits Venice once in his life, at best once every five years, does he feel concerned by this plethora of contemporary art? I doubt that he comes to Venice for that type of art.
Venice is by itself a museum in the open air of a value that none exposed contemporary works can equalize. If it rains, what happens more than wanted in Venice where the thundershowers are intense, it is better, in my humble opinion, to take refuge at the Gallery of the Academy to enjoy the admirable paintings of Giovanni Bellini rather than to pay more to see contemporary works. An art critic Eric Rinckhout recently wrote that these were often decorative works, garish aesthetic experiments, "art for money" (I translate here the Dutch term “Poenige kunst” used by the critic).
Over the years I came to think that contemporary art comprises little art and much decoration or eccentricities. This is no prejudice of mine; in my youth my room was decorated with reproductions of paintings by Botticelli, Douanier Rousseau and Kandinsky; what indicates a rather eclectic taste I may think.
ART CONTEMPORAIN À VENISE
Avec les collections d'art contemporain de François Pinault au Palazzo Grassi et maintenant à la Punta della Dogana, ainsi que la Biennale de Venise la capitale de la Lagune fait partie des villes phares de l'art contemporain. Je n'ai pas mentionné ici le musée Peggy Guggenheim plus Moderne que Contemporain.
Mais le touriste qui visite Venise une fois dans sa vie, au mieux une fois tous les cinq ans, se sent-il concerné par ce pléthore d'art contemporain? Je doute qu'il vienne à Venise pour l'art contemporain.
Venise est en soi un musée en plein air d'une valeur qu'aucune des oeuvres contemporaines exposées ne peut égaler. S'il pleut, ce qui arrive assez souvent à Venise où les orages d'été sont des plus intenses, il vaut mieux, à mon humble avis, se réfugier à la Galerie de l'Académie pour y savourer les admirables peintures de Giovanni Bellini plutôt que de payer cher la visite d'œuvres contemporaines dont un critique d'art disait récemment qu'il s'agissait plus souvent d'œuvres décoratives, d'expériences esthétiques criardes, d'art à fric (je traduis ici le terme néerlandais "Poenige kunst" utilisé par le critique Eric Rinckhout).
En ce qui me concerne j'en suis venu à penser que l'art contemporain comporte peu d'art et beaucoup de décoration ou d'excentricités. Il n'y a là aucun préjugé de ma part, dans ma jeunesse ma chambre était ornée de reproductions de Botticelli, du Douanier Rousseau et de Kandinsky, ce qui indique un goût assez éclectique me semble-t-il.
I know that Venice is a big city for art, but we just did not have either the time or the inclination to visit museums when we were there. I did take photos of them however.
The first museum that I became aware of (seeing it on the map I had) was the Peggy Guggenheim Museum (photo 3), which is billed as "the most important museum in Italy for European and American art of the first half of the 20th century". It is located in Peggy Guggenheim's former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice. The museum was inaugurated in 1980 and presents Peggy Guggenheim's personal collection of 20th century art (among other things).
704 Dorsoduro, I-30123 Venezia
Open daily 10am-6pm (closed Tuesdays and December 25)
The one that I liked best from the outside was the Ca' D'oro which was once the most beautiful in Venice because of the colours of its facade. But the building fell on hard times until Baron Giorgio Franchetti bought it at the end of XIX century to create an art gallery. Inside in addition to the art, you can see what remain of the decorations that once made beautiful the facades of the buildings near the Gran Canal. Downstairs, in the backyard it's possible to admire the well by Bartolomeo Da Bon, a masterpiece of 1427 made with red marble of Verona.
Opening hours: Daily: 9.00/13.00.
Ticket: € 7; free entrance for people under 18 and adults over 60 years and foreign visitors under 12 years.
Photos 2 and 4 are of the Palazzo Grassi which apparently is the site of revolving exhibitions. What attracted my attention to the building was what appeared to be an enormous skull made from metal scraps which was outside the building.
Opening hours: Daily from 10.00 to 7.00 p.m. except 24th, 25th, 31st of December and the 1st of January.
Tickets: € 9 - € 6.50 reduced
The Ca' Pesaro (photo 5) is a baroque marble palace facing the Grand Canal of Venice which has a large collection of Oriental art. There is also a contemporary art museum with works by Klimt, Klee, Kandinsky.
Opening hours: 9.00/17.00, closed on Monday.
Ticket: € 5,50/ reduced € 3,00 for students* from 15 to 29 years;
The art lover Peggy Guggenheim - venetians called her "the last Doge of Venice" - has collected a lot of modern art in her Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the bank of Grand Canal.
The neo-classical Palazzo itself is amazing, however, sometimes called as the Palazzo Nonfinito because of its one-storey construction. The collection includes masterpieces of cubism, futurism, abstraction, surrealism including famous painters and sculptors such as: Moore, Picasso, Mondrian, Kandinsky, Braque, Max Ernst, Miró and many more.
Sculpture Collection is exhibited in the garden where also the gift from Yoko Ono, a live olive tree may be seen.
In the new wing there is a Coffee shop where you can take a break for a snack or a drink.
Warning: Inside the gallery you are not allowed to take photos.
Opening hours Wednesday through Monday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m
Admission 10 €
One of my favorite museums in all of Europe.
One of the best collections of modern art anywhere, in Peggy Guggenheims house on the Grand Canal in Dorsoduro section of Venice. The house setting makes it more enjoyable and personal.
Peggy is buried with her pet shi#zus in the corner of the sculpture garden.
They have an excellent veranda that opens onto the Grand canal for sitting and relaxing.
There is also one of the better restaurants in Venice right on the premises (Museum Café, managed by Ai Gondolieri) so you can enjoy a delicious lunch break, and the food is good (very good for Venice).
Picasso, Klee, Ernst, Richter, Jackson Pollock, etc... .some of their best from Peggy's private collection is right here.
Rather than me rave about it, check out the website on this page.
I feel sorry for anyone who likes modern art and misses the Venice Guggenheim.
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, known as Il Palazzo Nonfinito as the planned 4 storey palazzo never went beyond the ground floor level, was purchased by Peggy Guggenheim in 1949. It is a superb celebration of 20th century art and something of a welcome change from the stunning Renaissance art to be found in the rest of the city! :) You name him/her from the last 100 years of the world of art, and chances are that they'll be represented here. Picasso, Pollack, Ernst, Chirico, Magritte etc etc etc.. And if that's not enough, there's the wonderful terrace of sculpture (including the controversial 'Angelo dell Citta' by Marino Marini) and the stunning views of the Grand Canal to be had.