Page 17 - Studio International - January 1965
P. 17

The  Peggy  Guggenheim  Collection


                                                                                     life. without falling into a stale aestheticism. a note of
                                                                                     detachment from every day's reality, an aloofness lady­
                                                                                     like and polemic at the same time.
                                                                                      Does  there  exist  then  an  art  of  living  different  from
                                                                                     that  which  is  codified  by  the  etiquette  of  traditional
                                                                                     aristocratic customs? Peggy chose the ·surrealistic' way
                                                                                     of  living  (she  was  not  Max  Ernst's  wife  for  nothing).
                                                                                     Palazzo Venier dei  Leoni is the most distinct antithesis
                                                                                     of I Tatti. Berenson·s famous villa at Settignano.  Beren­
                                                                                     son was a refined gentleman. a rather cynical humanist.
                                                                                     who little by little created for himself a dwelling fit for
                                                                                     his  taste  and  his  culture.  Berenson  was  the  purest
                                                                                    incarnation of a snob fin  de siecle. of an aesthete with
                                                                                     a  precious  conversation.  much  appreciated  by  the
                                                                                     intellectual society described by  Proust.
                                                                                      Peggy, on the contrary. acts as a wonderful interpreter
                                                                                     of  the  period  between  the  two  world  wars  and  the
                                                                                     second one seen from the American exile.  which per­
                                                                                     mitted her  to  make  accurate  researches  in  the artistic
                                                                                     milieu of  New York.  enlivened by the presence. at the
                                                                                     same time. of so many  European exiles such as  Leger.
                                                                                     Mondrian.  Ernst.  Chagall.  Breton.  etc.
                                                                                      Of those  well-directed  researches.  many  documents
                                                                                     ::ire left in Peggy's collection. which has been growing
                                                                                     morP and more on the scheme traced by  Herbert  Read
                                                                                     and on her personal experiences. after an historical plan
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