A Life in Books: Chapter two Peggy Guggenheim in Venice, Portraits of an Art Addict


Click the image to go directly to my sassy depiction of Peggy, a tribute to her greatness.


There is so much to see in Venice, one may not make it to visit Peggy. For me, a visit with Peggy is first on my list whenever I am in Venice, especially when I am on my own. Who is Peggy? Peggy Guggenheim of course dahling, read on.


The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most important museums of European and American art of the twentieth century in Italy. It is located in Peggy Guggenheim’s former home, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, on the Grand Canal in Venice.


For me visiting Peggy’s palazzo is an act of devotion, a declaration of love and gratitude for my life and the possibilities on my path. From the first time I visited Venice in 2006, I was smitten by Peggy and what her vision has created.


A few years after my love affair with Peggy started, I discovered my first book about her, on the shelf in a dear friends flat in Rome. Featured above, Art Lover, a Biography deepened my appreciation for this unique woman ahead of her time.

From then I devoured everything written about Peggy Guggenheim. She is her own kind of inspiration, and inspiration by strong, original women is always welcome.


As has been posted over the years, we laze about for a part of August in the Italian mountains just above the city of Venice. In our little haven, which we colloquially and collectively call “Pieve” (in actual fact the name of only one of the hamlets in this region). This area is part of both our individual and our shared past as it is the place where we met.


We return each year as individuals and as a couple each with our own expectations and vision. In the 20th century this area was a popular place for Venetians to escape the heat. Cool mountain breezes, prolific hiking trails, the water of the Lake of Santa Croce, and a general air of relaxation have attracted Venetians to these mountains from time immemorial. Against all odds and practicality, as I suffer terribly the heat, every August I make a pilgrimage to Venice. More accurately, a pilgrimage to Peggy.


After one particularly inspiring visit which left me in awe of Peggy’s spirit, I returned to Lugano and suggested Confessions of an Art Addict to my beloved book club. With unspeakable pleasure I led the club’s discussion of this book. For me, far more than just one book, I introduced the intricacies of her family’s history – which began in Switzerland – and highlighted her position, as the black sheep of one of the 20th centuries most powerful families, as both a blessing and a curse.

In April of 2020 when tasked with telling a story for my final project in an online course, appropriately titled Storytelling, Peggy was my first choice. A bit of background on the course. All tourism gigs, especially in Italy and related to American citizens living in the US, have been essentially halted for 2020. One of the groups I work with offered us a most extraordinary chance to both stay in contact and improve our skills.


This group, English First (EF), is a forward thinking outfit for English language learning and educational travel.Ever vigilant and committed to delivering a stellar product to their clients, EF, in particular our Roman colleagues, put together this online course to help us perfect our storytelling skills.


When asked what storytelling has to do with tourism by incredulous husband and friends – I enthused that it has everything to do with being successful in tourism. Citing a bunch of facts will bore your audience, bringing them into the story, provoking their emotions, their curiosity, even their fear and or glee – this is what makes a successful leader in this industry. To highlight the point, I played them the video.


Read any of these suggested titles to learn more, and be dazzled by, Peggy herself.

Top left; Gill’s ideas about Peggy, while I do not adhere to all of them, this book is meticulously researched and filled with colorful incident. In this book Gill reveals the inner drives of a remarkable woman and indefatigable patron of the arts. art Lover/ A Biogrgraphy of Peggy Guggenheim.

Top right; Guggenheim’s: A Family History. Read this book to discover the story behind the Guggenheim dynasty and its legacy in business, technology, the arts, and philanthropy.

Bottom left; In this book, curated by her granddaughter and compiled to promote her collections, we are given glimpses into Peggy’s daily life through photos, drawings, and various accounts of her journey. Peggy Guggenheim A Celebration

Bottom right; Out of this Century: Confessions of an Art Addict. Written by Peggy herself, this quirky book gives extra insights into her character and convictions.


An extra bonus a video about the collection and Peggy’s story by TRT World, a Turkish state international news channel broadcast 24 hours per day in English.

Showcase: Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice.

© 2023 by NICOLE CRABTREE