Peggy Guggenheim’s career, as patron and collector, was driven by her readiness to support, both financially and morally, the intellectual vanguard, whether literary or artistic, and her desire to communicate to others her own enthusiasm for the art of her time. Her vision went beyond the mere acquisition of works of contemporary art to the creation of a comprehensive collection of museum standard. Peggy worked to bring about the acceptance of the avant-garde not only in the United States, but also in Europe and in particular in Italy.
Much has been written and said about Peggy Guggenheim and her collection but her appreciation of works on paper, demonstrated by the fact that at her death in 1979 these accounted for more than seventy works in her collection, in addition to all those that in the last thirty years of her life, from 1949 to 1979, she donated to museums around the world, has been overlooked. Drawing on the holdings of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, this exhibition brings to light a collection of works on paper by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. Among them are works by Alechinsky, Arp, Calder, de Kooning, Ernst, Fontana, Hundertwasser, Kandinsky, Kupka, Man Ray, Masson, Matta, Mondrian, Moore, Picasso, Richter, Rivera, Sironi, Tancredi, Tanguy, Tobey and Vedova. Some were shown at the 1948 Venice Biennale, others have been exhibited only rarely and others have never been exhibited prior to this exhibition at Lu.C.C.A.
Most painters of the last century devoted time and effort to working on paper, using this support as an arena for free expression and for their more daring experiments. Reliving important moments in the history of twentieth century art through Peggy Guggenheim’s drawings – without recourse to all those that she donated to collections such as those of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, or the Tel Aviv Museum of Art – is a major cultural and educational event.