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Confessions of an Art Addict

peggy guggenheim

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Peggy Guggenheim was the first to give Jackson Pollock an exhibition, she championed Piet Mondrain, Marcel Duchamp and Albert Giacometti and had turbulent relationships with Samuel Becket and Max Ernst.

Her biography: OUT OF THIS CENTURY- Confessions of an Art Addict is a biography full of frivolous decadence, hedonism and temperamental characters as well as an unique insight into the European art world in the first half of the 20th century.

When Peggy, daughter of rich and prominent parents, came into her fortune she was left bored and decided to leave New York to go on a trip to Europe, where she ended up staying for the next 21 years.

It is hard not to be fascinated by Peggy’s extraordinary life, her writing is witty, honest at times and refreshingly naive. The book makes for a highly entertaining read:

Max Ernst had a terrific reputation for his beauty, charm and success with woman. He had white hair and big blue eyes and a handsome beak-like nose resembling a bird's, He was exquisitely made.”

Peggy chose to live a Bohemian life together with some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Of course, being born into incredible wealth did help her on her decadent trail through life, but she certainly made the most of her fortune!

The book is more about Guggenheim herself, than about the art she collected, but it also gives an insider’s view into her close (and sometimes highly personal) relationship with artists such as Hans Arp, Yves Tanguy, Marcel Duchanmp and Max Ernst amongst many more.

English writer and raconteur Quentin Crisp manage to nail the essence of the book in his review of it, in  New York Magazine in 26 of November 1997: “Peggy Guggenheim’s love for contemporary painting could not always be distinguished from her lust for contemporary painters…”

A refreshing summer read!

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