Page 18 - Studio International - January 1965
P. 18

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                              of modern art, where even the 'minor· of each movement
                              since cubism were included.  But too often critics avoid
                              discussing  the  'minor.'  who  represent  the  less  con­
                              spicuous but necessary connections of a cultural struc­
                              ture made of contributions of a different value. in favour
                              of  the  'major.'  which  negatively  results  in  reducing
                              some phenomena to  a sort of mythical competition of
                              the most outstanding individualities. in a critical scale.
                              which  is not always ratified by  history.
                               I intend to  say that cubism. just to give an  example.
                              assumes the aspects of Gleizes.  Marcoussis.  Metzinger
                              too. whom  Peggy presented with some really remark­
                              able  works.  Perhaps  it  was  more  difficult  for  he1  to
                              document Italian Futurism. represented nevertheless by
                              Motor-car+ noise  (1912)  by  Balla.  Dancer=  sea
                              (1913)  by  Severini  and  by  that  'piece  of  sculpture'
                              (which would be more proper to term 'plastic') made of
                              wood and pasteboard, Dynamic construction of a gallop
                              -horse+house  (1913-14)  by  Boccioni.  This  one is
                              a  work  recomposed  on  the  outline  of  photos  of  the
                              time:  a  very  significant  endeavour  to  build  moving
                              structural  elements  linked  together  to  represent  an
                              impetuous  rush  into  space.  The  haunting  rhythm  of
                              movement  or  speed.  that  was  the  dominant  motif of
                              futurist  aestheticism.  expresses  itself  in  the  visual
                              schemes elaborated by  Balla and  Severini on the con­
                              temporary researches of analytic and synthetical cubism
                              (for  Severini  the experience of  Seurat's  pointillisme  is
                              worthy too)  but with a certain independence given by
                              the  different objects  the  two  artistic movements had
                              in  view.  (One  must  compare  the  well-known  Horse
                              (1914) by Duchamp Villon with that •piece of sculpture'
                              by  Boccioni.  the  painting  by  Balla  with  Gris)
                               Futurism. notwithstanding its didactic importance and
                              the fruitful germs left in Europe between 1913 and 1914.
                              propitious to  the formation  and development  of other
                              avant-garde  movements.  produced  no  work  which
                              might  be  compared  to  those  by  Picasso  and  Braque
                              included  in  the  Guggenheim  collection.  which  more­
                              over very well documents Malevich's and  El  Lissitzky's
                              suprematism  and  Mondrian's.  Van  Doesburg's  and
                              Vantongerloo's neo-plasticism.
                                Even for so  active and attentive a mind as  Peggy's it
                              is  difficult  to  overstep  the  bounds  imposed  by  the
                              historical taste and conscience. Therefore one gives up
                              a  priori  a  dangerous  experimentalism,  the  idea  of  an
                              avant-garde at any cost and her collection strictly keeps
                              its feature of a  selection  well  defined  in  the time.  To
                              constitute  a  document  really  useful  for  history,  each
                              collection must be specialized, that is refer to a period
                              or a determined group or movement.
      1                        In  Peggy's case a document becomes a lived reality,  everlasting  rebellion.  There  is  a  compliance  even  in
      Alberto  Giacometti
      S1atua di donna acefa,a. 1932-1936   an  expression  of  the  collector's  own  life,  as  it  results  anarchy-a conformity to be refused.  In 1948, in  Italy,
      Gesso. 148  cm. high    from her books:  Art  of  this  century,  Una  collezionista   Peggy  found  herself  in  an  avant-garde  position.
                              ricorda,  Confessions  of  an  art  addict-precious  state­  possessed of an exceptionally vital experience such as
      2                       ments  indeed  of  someone  who  is  not  merely  an  the surrealistic one.  At that time, in  the terms of that
      Giorgio  de  Chirico                                                       period, Peggy represented the most audacious abstrac­
      Ritrauo d1  un poeta. 191 3   amateur.
      89  x  40  cm.           In these books recollections heap up, often without a  tion,  in  contrast  with  the  shy  attempts  of  the  Italian
                              chronological order, just in accordance with the whim  artists,  who  once  again  turned  their  eyes  to  Paris,  in
      3                       of  imagination,  as  the  adventures  or  events  were  search of suggestions.
      Salvador  Dali          expe1ienced,  with a sudden  upsetting of situations,  as   In  a  country  of classic  education  and  of  irreversible
      La nascita d, desiden /1qwdi.  1932
      95  x  112 cm.          though she would prove the truth of the statement that  traditions,  Peggy's  world  looked  whimsical,  often
                              'la realite  depasse  la  fiction.'                ununderstandable,  still  exasperated  by  her  unpre­
      4                         He who was formed in a definite intellectual environ­  judiced spirit, particularly as a writer.  Freud taught her
      Juan  Gris              ment and a definite time, in touch with a society which  how to get rid of any complex and above all of shyness,
      1887-1927               accepted the most audacious ideas of avant-garde art,   which is both a hindrance and an impulse to the boldest
      La botllg//a dt rhum def/a Martimca,   notwithstanding  the  extreme  freedom  of  his  mind,  confessions.
      Paper collage, 53  x  45  cm.   sometimes finds it hard to  proceed  on  the way  of  an   But  the  post-war  years  rapidly  wore  out  fortunes,
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