Once a house, today one of the most important museums for 20th-century art. Discover the fascinating Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice with us.
Peggy Guggenheim collection is a fundamental stop for anyone visiting Venice. Located in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a beautiful residence overlooking the Grand Canal, this palace was the private home of Peggy Guggenheim from 1949 to 1979, becoming a museum in the 1980s. Today it represents one of the most important museums in Italy for European and American art of the 20th century. Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, René Magritte, Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Henry Moore are just some of the artists who find a home in the Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice.
Peggy Guggenheim was one of the most famous art collectors of the twentieth century, patron, and wife of the famous artist Max Ernst. Peggy was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim who sank aboard the Titanic in 1912 and granddaughter of Solomon Guggenheim, owner of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Upon Peggy's death, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni and the entire collection were donated to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, after the donation proposal to the Municipality of Venice was rejected.
I dedicated myself entirely to my collection. A collection is challenging. But it's what I wanted and I made it my life's work. I'm not a collector. I am a museum
Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice: the story
From the initial group of works left by Peggy Guggenheim to her death, the collection has been enriched over the years, thanks to various donations that have enriched the original collection, the last of which was the Nasher and Schulhof, donated to Peggy Guggenheim collection in Venice in 2012
The purpose of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice is to spread knowledge of modern art. The collection is made up of works by leading artists of the art movements of the first half of the 20th century, such as Cubism, Futurism, Surrealism, American Abstract Expressionism, metaphysical painting, avant-garde sculpture, European abstraction, as well as African, pre-Columbian, and Oceanic works of art.
The Palazzo Venier dei Leoni where the Peggy Guggenheim collection Venice is based is spread over a single floor. Inside it houses, on one side, the permanent collection of Peggy Guggenheim and, on the other, temporary exhibitions. On temporary exhibition until March 18, 2024: Marcel Duchamp and the seduction of the copy. Inside the Peggy Guggenheim collection Venice, the gardens have an important place, where various works are placed, as well as the ashes of the famous collector who rests in a corner of the garden. Also, in her garden Peggy had buried her numerous and beloved dogs: Honk Kong, Baby, Gypsy, Emily, Cappuccino.
Things to know before your visit
The museum is open every day from 10.00 to 18.00, the last entrance is at 17.00 (it is closed only on Tuesdays and 25 December). It is recommended to purchase tickets online to avoid queues and ensure your visit. It is good to know that the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice is included in the Venice Pass, a convenient and unique card that allows access to many museums, as well as public transport and more, available in the versions: One day, two days or five days, to move around easily among the many cultural opportunities of Venice without wasting time.
Inside the museum it is possible to take advantage of the guided tour service, available in various languages, or rent an audio guide. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice also offers the opportunity to make private visits, outside the museum's opening hours, which must be booked at least four working days before the visit. Furthermore, interesting to know if you are a student, in recent years the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice offers an international internship program dedicated to students of art, art history or museology from all over the world. Each year six international program applicants are selected as scholarship recipients.Visit the collection with Venice Pass❯
Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice: how to get there
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is located along the Grand Canal, between the Accademia Bridge and the Basilica of Santa Maria della Salute. If you have just arrived in Venice and you are at the railway station or Piazzale Roma, take the vaporetto line 1 or 2, direction Lido and get off at the Accademia or Salute stop. If you are in Piazza San Marco, take vaporetto line 2, direction Piazzale Roma and get off at the stop: Accademia.
Guide to the visit: Permanent collection
The Peggy Guggenheim Venice permanent collection is housed inside Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, legend say that it was given this name because a lion lived inside the garden, but the name probably derives from the fact that two lion heads of Istria’s stone are placed on the facade of the building. Peggy Guggenheim's ambition has always been to make this home a museum and even when she was alive, she allowed private citizens to visit the interior for free. The works of the permanent collection, collected by Peggy throughout her life, are located within the rooms and in the garden, we find painting, sculpture, and photography. Art history scholars consider this museum a mirror of the dynamics and trends of 20th century art.
At the entrance from the Grand Canal there is the sculpture The Angel of the City by Marino Marini, which depicts a knight with wide-open arms who will welcome you to the museum. In the atrium of the building, you will find one of the masterpieces of the collection, which gives its name to the same room, the work Arch of Petals by Alexander Calder, it is a dynamic and light structure. Calder is considered the creator of kinetic art. Two other works are exhibited in the same room. The next room is the one that Peggy used as a dining room, where the table and chairs Peggy used are still there, this is a room dedicated to Cubist works. The following room is the one that was used as a kitchen, and which mainly hosts Russian artists. Now go to the room that Peggy used as a living room and library, in this room there are works that represent European abstraction. Continuing, you will find yourself in the corridor that connects with the other wing of the building, where among others Paul Klee is exhibited, in the other wing of the building many surrealists are exhibited, including Max Ernst (Peggy's second husband, even if only for a short time), René Magritte, Yves Tanguy, Dalì and others. In the room that Peggy used as a bedroom, two particular works are exhibited: two earrings, jewels that are actually works of art, an abstract work and a surrealist one, which Peggy wore at the New York inauguration of Art of this century, to demonstrate to everyone his impartiality towards the two artistic currents and towards art in general. In the gardens there is also a work by Giò Pomodoro. Take a quiet moment to observe the works located in the garden and its many curiosities, relax yourself onto the terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.
Guide to the visit: Marcel Duchamp temporary exhibition
Marcel Duchamp and the seduction of the copy is the temporary exhibition set up from 14 October 2023 to 18 March 2024 at the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice. The exhibition is curated by one of Duchamp's leading experts. Marcel Duchamp was an historical friend and advisor to Peggy. This is the first solo exhibition that the museum has dedicated to the artist.
About sixty works created between 1911 and 1968 are on display. They are iconic works coming not only from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection Venice, but also from other national and international institutions. By reproducing his own works with different techniques and sizes, the artist wants to demonstrate that duplicates and their originals offer the same aesthetic pleasure. If you are organizing a trip to Venice during this period and until March 18th, the Duchamp exhibition is an opportunity not to be missed.