“Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict” will be playing at Landmark Theaters at the Clay through Dec 3, directed by Lisa Immordino Vreeland, granddaughter in-law of the late fashion editor Diana Vreeland. The documentary is well-researched and funded from several foundations with a host of commentators who knew Guggenheim and countless renowned artists and figureheads.
The opening scenes announce that Peggy Guggenheim’s last spoken interview with Jacqueline Bograd Held will be heard for the first time, which was presumably lost. Held wrote “Peggy, the Wayward Guggenheim” in 1986.
The Guggenheim name evokes images of a powerful family, however Peggy came from the side of the family that did not have the kind of money like her uncles Solomon and Simon. Her grandfather made his fortune in the mining industry but Peggy’s father Benjamin Guggenheim died on the “Titanic” and she was raised by her mother. Peggy’s early beginnings reveal a restless young woman who was interested in the avantgarde art scene and who later left a boring life as a housewife to devote her interests to collecting art with own funds from her family trust.
“Peggy Guggenheim Art Addict” shows that Peggy made early investments with very little money such as acquiring a property on the Grande Canale in Venice in 1951 that was later to become one of the most successful art museums in the world – The Peggy Guggenheim Collection. She worked and lived here until her death in 1979.
Guggenheim had an eye for detail with skills in how to put things and people together, which made her galleries and shows successful. In London she opened her first gallery in 1938 , the Guggenheim Jeune Gallery, that later had to close in 1940 due to the war. With paintings from artists she salvaged during this time, she opened a famous gallery entitled “The Art of This Century Gallery” from 1942-1947. Here she introduced Americans to European avant-garde art. Many pieces were the work of European expatriates during the war. She featured installations and art work by artists such as Marcel Duchamp and Joan Miró, and also gave Jackson Pollock his first solo exhibition.
For the uninitiated and the enthusiast of Peggy Guggenheim, the film is a rich document with film clips of famous figures such as Sigmund Freud with his grandson Lucian Freud, a German born British artist and French ballet master of the Paris Opera, the Ukrainian born Serge Lefar. There are countless photographs of Peggy from all ages, her family, husbands, lovers and children – and her famous art collection.