Throughout history, the role of the wealthy benefactor has been vital in giving artists the time and finances necessary to complete their masterpieces. However, society and the art world has changed significantly over the past century. Whilst those creating art no longer rely on rich patrons they do need collectors to buy their work and galleries to showcase their repertoire. Peggy Guggenheim was both, and her love of art and almost naïve devotion to artists lead to her becoming a pioneer in introducing modern American art to the world.
Lisa Immordino Vreeland’s documentary, Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, paints a colourful picture of a highly distinctive character. Often considered to be the black sheep of the Guggenheim family, the heiress spent a large fortune in establishing one of the greatest modern art collections in the world. This was often more through loyalty and friendship. By the end of her life she’d established one of the most impressive collections in the world in her gallery in Venice.
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is a great documentary which charts the life of a remarkable person. Influential and dedicated, the art world owes her a great debt. Her list of friends and lovers is impressive, including Jackson Pollock (who she effectively introduce to the world), Max Ernst, Samuel Beckett, Marcel Duchamp and Robert De Niro’s parents. There’s only so much you can do in a documentary about a posthumous subject but Vreeland does it superbly.
Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict is released on DVD by Dogwoof on Monday.