The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #42
Peggy Guggenheim (1898 – 1979)
In New York City, the family name of Guggenheim carries a lot of weight. Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down on the Titanic, and Solomon R. Guggenheim, namesake of the famous museum, were the father and uncle respectively of one of the world’s greatest art collectors and benefactors, Peggy Guggenheim. Deeply in love with the modern and avant garde, Peggy Guggenheim escaped from her home in Venice during World War II and hosted the “Art of This Century” exhibition at a gallery on West 57th Street. She attended the opening reception of the exhibit professing her impartiality between the abstract and the surrealist by sporting an Yves Tanguy earring in one ear and an Alexander Calder earring in the other. Supporting and promoting such artists as Piet Mondrian, Frida Kahlo, Berenice Abbott and of course Jackson Pollock, she was a regular patron of MoMA, the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of the American Indian, and the Guggenheim Museum (though she never liked the building!).
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