Subject Material

Dedication to Art - Peggy Guggenheim in Venice

Published: 12.02.2013, Updated: 04.03.2017
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Peggy Guggenheim Collection

What makes a person dedicate her life to art? Listen to an interview recorded in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, a city famous for its architecture and unique, historical atmosphere. Visit the museum's website and their collections and exhibitions online. How does the art exhibited there reflect the 20th century?

Canal GrandeGuggenheim Water Front Peggy Guggenheim (1898 - 1979) belonged to the influential Guggenheim family in the USA. Her uncle, Solomon, founded the famous Guggenheim Art Gallery in N.Y. City. Peggy herself developed a keen interest in contemporary art. She settled in Venice in 1949, where she had her growing collection on display. As an art collector she played an important role for upcoming artists.


Below you will find an outline of the information provided in the recording. Listen closely and insert the missing words/expressions:

Peggy Guggenheim's goal was to protect the.......of her time, and she wanted to help new...... One of these artists was………. She took a special interest in In New York she founded an art…………called Art of the…………  Peggy moved to………. and displayed her …………there. Venice is a fascinating city, and the best way to get around is to………. The city is unique in the way it is built on………., and the …………. is very characteristic.

If you think it is difficult to come up with the correct words, look


architecture, art, Century, abstract, gallery, Jackson Pollock, surrealistic, water, walk, Venice, collection, artists



Guggenheim EntranceGuggenheim Entrance 

Guggenheim Entrance GateGuggenheim Entrance Gate 


Canal Grande GondolaCanal Grande 


Study these definitions before listening to the interview:


Surrealism, according to the Free Dictionary (Free dictionary - surrealism ), is a controversial movement in art and literature between the two World Wars, in which the artist attempted to portray, express, or interpret the workings of the subconscious mind.


Subconscious/unconscious, according to the Free Dictionary (Free dictionary - subconscious ), means not wholly conscious; partially or imperfectly conscious: subconscious perceptions. The part of the mind below the level of conscious perception. Often used with the definite article.

Abstract art

Abstract art, according to , is a trend in painting and sculpture in the twentieth century. Abstract art seeks to break away from traditional representation of physical objects. It explores the relationships of forms and colors, whereas more traditional art, represents the world in recognizable images.


Expressionism, according to is a style in art, literature and music in which the artist emphsizes emotions and reactions to things rather than objects as they really appear.



The Guggenheim Museum Interview


«I dedicated myself to my collection. I made it my life’s work. I am not an art collector. I am a museum.” (Peggy Guggenheim)

  1. Discuss what makes a person dedicate herself to art and how this formed Peggy Guggenheim's identity?  Base your discussion on the quote above and your research about her life and career.

  2. Pretend that you are one of the gondoliers in the picture and you are going to tell your passengers about the architecture along the Grand Canal. Choose your intended route and show through pictures and texts what you are going to tell them.

  3. Traditionally Venice is known for its abundant Renaissance art and architecture. Peggy Guggenheim represents a totally different expression of art. Discuss the main difference between these two art movements. Use pictures and text to demonstrate your views.

  4. Jackson Pollack was one of the American artists Peggy Guggenheim supported. Find out what influence he had on contemporary art, and compare and contrast three of his works. Use pictures and text.


Watch this video presentation from Guggenheim Museum, Venice:


What do you think of the way in which the museum presents itself? To what extent do you think the museum and its art collection capture essential ideas of the 20th century.

Make a Presentation

  1. Choose one piece of art either from the museum's website The Guggenheim Museum in Venice or one of the art objects displayed here. What do you think it expresses? What might be the artist's idea? Does it speak to you, or not? Explain your views and state your attitude to modern art in general.  

  2. Find an art object or piece of art that you think might be a good illustration of a 20th century fictional text or poem that you have read. Why do they complement each other?