Citizen Guggenheim


Citizen Guggenheim


The rich are different. And sometimes by a distance. Imagine you come from a great American banking family. Your father dies on the Titanic but his mistress survives. You hate your mother. You marry badly twice ,you have eight abortions, your daughter commits suicide, your sister murders two of her children. As it happens you have a 1000 lovers and you are buried with fourteen  of your dogs .

And of course Peggy Guggenheim collected one of the great art collect ions of the 20th century. Paris was her spiritual home but she established galleries in London, New York and  most importantly Venice. She in fact established the city of St Marks as one of the great modern art centres and her museum  is  one of the most visited in the world.

The documentary of her life(see link) is as can be expected of such a life hugely enjoyable. So she shagged for Tate Modern, but she was living in the art world and frankly the odd suburban affair just will not do.  A bodged noise job gave  her one  like WC Fields but she had the instincts of Mae West. What the hell ,Man Ray took the picture

The marriages to Lawrence Vail, Max  Ernst and  her long affair with John Holms  were hardly the stuff of happy families. Of her two year ding with Ernst “I married him  because he was beautiful and famous.” As you do.

Her men made her stand for hours naked in the window,smeared her hair with jam and threw whisky in her face. Love ( and sex) is like a stove it burns you when its hot. Having seen the  sexual frescoes of Pompeii she  was far more adventurous than many of her men. The Christian way was one of many. She was not satisfied with just the giants of modern art, sometimes the handyman at her palace in Venice would have a sleep over part to play. When asked if she had slept with one  the artistic giants, ”Once” she replied dismissively, that is once really doesn’t count. Bravo.

She is rich and she bought most of her art 1938-46 when the world was going to hell in  a hand cart and she buys billions of dollars of  Picasso, Braque, Brancussi , Calder,Moore, Moro etc- not all she slept with-for $40k. But its not just about money its about style and taking risks. She listens and learns. Others say she is a poor little rich girl buying junk,but she has the last laugh,and how. She  lights the torch for Kadinsky and Jackson Pollack. She is  a credit to wealth.

She has a famous four day session with Samuel Beckett (they were introduced by James Joyce)which if his plays are anything to go by would have made a bizarre film . What a gal. As I said earlier the rich are different, they don’t get bogged down with details. Those are for poor people. And as for her, she was not stranger than fiction, she was a film by Orson Welles, Citizen Guggenheim.

But was she happy? what a dull question. The rich are different ,they don’t do happy.They don’t have to.

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One Response to Citizen Guggenheim

  1. Johan Vivian VAN DIJK says:

    A happy new year!
    You end on a thought provoking note which I will come to believe is true; ‘the rich don’t do happy; they don’t have to’. So I guess making your money, like that Facebook man who’s said to be giving away his fortune has made the bucks just for the thrill of it; for the challenge. Once you get there and have as much as you need you’re sick of what you’ve achieved.
    I doubt that I’ll now get to know the feeling…

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