Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Time Out says
This remarkable establishment, tucked behind a high wall off a quiet street (but with a Grand Canal frontage), is the third most-visited museum in the city. It was founded by one of Venice’s most colourful expat residents, Peggy Guggenheim.
She turned up in the lagoon city in 1949 looking for a home for her already sizeable art collection. A short-sighted curator at the Tate Gallery in London had described her growing pile of surrealist and modernist works as ‘non-art’. Venice, still struggling to win back the tourists after World War II, was less nicky, and Peggy found a perfect, eccentric base in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, a truncated 18th-century Grand Canal palazzo.
There are big European names in her art collection, including Picasso, Duchamp, Brancusi, Giacometti and Max Ernst, plus a few Americans such as Calder and Jackson Pollock. Highlights include the beautifully enigmatic Empire of Light by Magritte and Giacometti’s disturbing Woman with Her Throat Cut. The amboyant Attirement of the Bride, by Peggy’s husband, Max Ernst, often turns up as a Carnevale costume. But perhaps the most startling exhibit of all is the rider of Marino Marini’s Angel of the City out on the Grand Canal terrace, who thrusts his manhood towards passing vaporetti. (Never the shrinking wall flower, Peggy took delight in unscrewing the member and pressing it on young men she fancied.) The gallery has a pleasant garden and café.