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15th Mar 2013

Peggy Guggenheim — Woman of Valor Portrait

As an heiress and member of the Guggenheim family, Peggy Guggenheim ((August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979 ) was a socialite with many also famous friends, many of whom were artists and writers.

Selecting the text(s) that I will use to create a portrait can take as long, or almost as long as creating the basic black and white Essence Portrait. I do a lot of research on every subject, including interviews when possible. Then, based on that information, based on those understandings,  I do more research using a Concordance, looking up keywords and researching texts. Every now and then I just “know” what text to use, because I am somewhat familiar with the Bible and it seems obvious.

The choice of text for my new Essence Portrait of  Peggy Guggenheim was immediately clear and obvious to me: Proverbs 31, also known as Woman of Valor.

Peggy Guggenheim is known for being a great art collector and generous public benefactor. However, as an artist, I appreciate her as having been more than a great collector, she was a woman who discovered and championed great artists. I has been said that we might not have had Abstract Expressionism without her support for the artists. This makes her more than a collector, she was an important patron and benefactor of artists.

Peggy Guggenheim by Judy Rey Wasserman - strokes are Proverbs 31

Peggy Guggenheim – Proverbs 31 by Judy Rey Wasserman

A great deal has been written about Peggy Guggenheim, and even by her in her autobiography, about her life, her adventures as an art collector and gallery owner, her relationships with artists and writers, and her many marriages and loves.

As a young woman, on a self-selected art tour to see more art, she journeyed from her native New York City Western Europe, where she met just about every influential artist at that time, including Pablo Picasso, Marcel Duchamp, Mondrian, Leger, Henry Moore, Hans Arp, Brancusi, Alexander Calder and Anton Pevsner, Jean Cocteau, and Max Ernst, who she was married to for a couple of years.

Her interest in collecting art and friendships led her to open a gallery in London where she could show the works of her friends. She gave Wassily Kandinsky his first-ever London show, and followed that with  an exhibition of contemporary sculpture featuring works of Henry Moore, Hans Arp, Brancusi, Alexander Calder and Anton Pevsner.

After Hitler invaded Paris, she abandoned her idea of opening a museum in London dedicated to a collection of works by Modern Art, and returned to New York City.

In October 1942, her museum-gallery, Art of This Century, opened in Manhattan, exhibiting all her Cubist, Abstract and Surrealist acquisitions. She showed the works of leading European artists (many mentioned above) in her gallery, but also met and showed the works of the new, and unknown, American Abstract Expressionists, including Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko, Janet Sobel, and Clyford. Most importantly she is credited with discovering (she had a good eye!), arranging for the first show (s) and also championing the work of Jackson Pollack.

Peggy Guggenheim by Judy Rey Wasserman - strokes are Proverbs 31

Close up of portion of Peggy Guggenheim – Proverbs 31 by Judy Rey Wasserman

(Can you spot some of the Torah font Hebrew letters used? Apart from the clear and obvious ones, you can spot some of the letters that are used as strokes, especially heys, vavs and yuds, which are often used near eyes of my subjects.)

Despite Peggy Guggenheim’s two brief, but very influential stints as an art dealer, her galleries really existed to showcase the art she loved, and had purchased, rather than as business venture aimed at making money. After the war, she returned to Europe in 1948 when her collection was exhibited at the Venice Biennale, introducing Pollock, Rothko and Arshile Gorky to Europe, alongside her works of previous Modern movements and artists, such as the Cubists and Surrealists.

Her collection continued to grow. It toured  across Europe, and was shown in Florence, Milan, Amsterdam, Brussels and Zurich.

By 1951 she had purchased and resided in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal., where he collection then resided. She began a tradition of opening her collection and home to the general public every summer.  She left her collection and the palace to the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation. It is one of the must go-to art destinations in Venice, and the world.

A great deal has been written about Peggy Guggenheim, and even by her in her autobiography, about her life, her adventures as an art collector and gallery owner, her relationships with artists and writers, and her many marriages and loves. Reading about her life is an interesting way to discover more about the history of Modern Art.

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Judy Rey Wasserman is an artist and the founder of Post Conceptual Art theory and also the branch known as UnGraven Image Art at ungravenimage.com.

Post Conceptual UnGraven Image Art theory is based at the intersection of ancient spiritual wisdom and cutting-edge contemporary science. It shows us a new and enhanced spiritual and science-based way to see the world. It is a life changing vision that can even become an actual new way of seeing that is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Can this be true? See for yourself. See more or yourself. Discover the art of Judy Rey Wasserman’s UnGraven Image. at ungravenimage.com.

Check out the Fine Art Limited Edition prints, decorative prints, books, and printables that are currently available to you through Judy Rey’s Art of Seeing The Divine Shop. You don’t have to buy to avail yourself of the art and inspiration available there. However, if you select to collect investment quality archival art, or decorate your home with images created with strokes that are original letters from Bible texts, or buy a gift for someone special, there is a secure shopping cart that accepts most credit cards so your purchase is easy to accomplish. https://artofseeingthedivine.com.

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