Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict at the Guggenheim

Lisa Immordino Vreeland presents her new documentary.

by Anne-Katrin Titze

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict at the Guggenheim Museum
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict at the Guggenheim Museum Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

On a beautiful autumn Sunday evening in New York, Leelee Sobieski, Ann Tenenbaum, Agnes Gund, Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Debra Black, Sandy Brant, Amalia Dayan, Nathalie de Gunzburg, Chrissie Erpf, Lise Evans, Maja Hoffmann, Julia Koch, Marie-Josée Kravis and Linda Macklowe hosted an advance screening at the Guggenheim Museum for Lisa Immordino Vreeland's Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict.

Lisa Immordino Vreeland introducing Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict
Lisa Immordino Vreeland introducing Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Spotted inside the Peter B. Lewis Theater were Arne Glimcher of Pace, producer of Simon Trevor's campaign against ivory poaching in White Gold, Hamish Bowles, International editor-at-large for American Vogue, Marina Abramovic, and fashion photographers Vinoodh Matadin and Inez van Lamsweerde. Lisa Immordino Vreeland thanked all involved in the making of the film, including producers Stanley Buchthal, David Koh, Dan Braun, Josh Braun and Peggy Guggenheim biographer Jacqueline B. Weld.

In what Peggy Guggenheim in the documentary calls "oh, my uncle's garage," and what is known to the rest of the world as the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue, Immordino Vreeland introduced her film.

"There are many art historians and museum directors in this room. One thing that has been clear is that Peggy Guggenheim's legacy has always been questioned and we hope that this film changes that. Not only for new audiences but for all of you. She held this very unique position in the art world. When first of all there was a world without borders she had a strong position in London, in New York, in Paris and in Venice and she carried this power with all the artists in this world."

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict at the Guggenheim invited guests
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict at the Guggenheim invited guests Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

"She was there before the artists even realised that they needed the support and this is so fundamental. And she had also this vision of wanting to build a collection and share that collection, which is a very modern thought and it has real gravitas. She did this really for the love of the art. What really stands out to me the most in making the film was that Peggy had courage and she had vision and she had above all passion and that's what she needed."

The best of 20th century art flashes on the screen while friends and experts talk about the woman and her life in Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict. Clips from Man Ray's L'étoile de mer with Kiki de Montparnasse and the famous Salvador Dali dream sequence from Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound illuminate her passion. Her art galleries in London, then New York and finally her wonderful museum in Venice, would not have been so filled with treasures without all the personal connections she made throughout the years. "I don't know what I would have done without him," she says about her number one art advisor, Marcel Duchamp.

Peggy Guggenheim: "What really stands out to me the most in making the film was that Peggy had courage …"
Peggy Guggenheim: "What really stands out to me the most in making the film was that Peggy had courage …"

The "Awakening in Paris" during the 1920s and Thirties brings her in contact with the who's who of Dada. Meeting Man Ray ("he never lost his Brooklyn accent"), Jean Cocteau, James Joyce, Ezra Pound and Gertrude Stein, became the education for Peggy, who never went to college. Larry Gagosian says that "she was her greatest creation" and Robert De Niro points rather proudly to the fact that both his mother and his father were exhibited in Peggy's gallery in New York. "So refreshing," calls Marina Abramovic the woman who didn't hide her affairs and desires but flaunted them and Arne Glimcher admits that he found her attractive. Especially in her museum in Venice the legacy lives on of the woman who some say "at heart was a little girl." One with a great deal of influence.

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict opens in the US on November 6.

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