Interesting Women: Peggy Guggenheim

David’s cracking (since 2008 btw), armer Hund. Three hundred years leaning at an angle in front of the signoria ; all that bird crap ; then brought into a house & cleaned with distilled water ; today stared at by thousands and thousands of people every day, who make the bottom shake in veneration, no wonder the ankles give in : Stronger men crumbled earlier.

I am not yet finished with the autobiography of Peggy GUGGENHEIM * (Ger., Eng). Her first name is Marguerite. (Beautiful.)
I have followed her through her childhood (the beloved father, who sank with the Titanic), her Backfischjahre – until she decided that virginity is overrated and that her later first husband (Ger.) should work through all the positions she had seen on those Italian postcards of the Pompeian frescoes -, right into her first, stormy, marriage.
I confess that I flipped through her book a bit and especially had a look at the chapter that deals with her return to America from war ridden “old Europe”, finally on 13th of July 1941 on board of a clipper (Ger., Eng.) : “Wir waren elf Leute: ein Ehemann, zwei Ex-Ehefrauen, ein zukünftiger Ehemann und sieben Kinder” / “We were eleven people: one husband, two ex-wives, one future husband and seven children.”
What surprises and touches me is that she was a beaten wife. Her first husband, Laurence VAIL, the father of her two children Sindbad ** and tragic Pegeen (Eng.), was a beater, who, when drunk (pretty often) liked to make a scene and punch his wife in public and in private.
Being part of la boheme and at the cutting edge of avantguarde does not automatically make a man recognise that women are equal human beings, no punching bags & not just the mothers of children, who also do a little painting & writing ‘n stuff. I had to understand this a new. The cultural history of the Western & European societies through the 20th century is dominated by groups of painters, writers, artists etc. that are male dominated – at least thinking of it right now, I can not come up with a female dominated group. Not even a female group. I think the more important is the exhibition “31 Women” GUGGENHEIM curated in the 40s. (Look at this blog for them, read more there.)
Maybe it is time to do something along this lines now, at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century ? I may be out of touch – and I am really not involved in gender history – but would it not be interesting to have an overview over women’s art since the second world war, at least in the West ?
Possibly someone already did this – please point me in the right direction, dear readers !

Peggy’s husbands – as far as I read now – were disappointing: Number one was a beater ; number two an alcoholic, who died after a surgical procedure (I have not found out, what they were doing ; it was carried out in their private home, and is always referred to as a “minor intrusion” ; the doctors went away after telling her that her husband was dead ; yeah, there’s really nothing left to do then … ) ; number three was an idiot ; number four was Max ERNST (Ger., Eng.), I still have to read about this marriage.
She really lived it all, came a very long way, and she is definitely a very – very – interesting woman, this strange Marguerite GUGGENHEIM.

* GUGGENHEIM, Peggy: Ich habe alles gelebt. Bekenntnisse einer Sammlerin aus Leidenschaft, Bern und München, 3. Aufl. 1980 (zuerst: Out of this Century – Confessions of an Art Addict, 1946)

** I found nothing about him on the web. Am I too lazy ?

8 thoughts on “Interesting Women: Peggy Guggenheim

  1. mj adores peggy’s signature glasses & i’d bought a number of little peggy pins while in venice. fuck a duck, i gave them all away, didn’t even keep one for myself. i wanted to send mine to her.
    i’ll never forgive myself.

  2. “Peggy Pins” – I have to look for them, Norma, I have no clue. I toyed with the idea to put in a picture of the “Peggy Glasses”. Here some pictures of the old darling.
    Ego te absolvo, m’love.

  3. Thank you for the links Sonnenbrille LX !
    I did not know the text by Janssen (the middle link) – very interesting. I did not know the entry at They did not get it right there: Sindbad is not married to Peggy. As far as I know incest is not on the agenda. They discern between a “Sindbad” and a “Michael C.” and do not realise that it s the same person – Michael Cedric Sindbad, son of Peggy and Lawrence. They do not mention his father Lawrence with one word. If they get it wrong with public persons, how will they do with the non-celebrities ? Reading transscripts of unknown handwritings from dubious films is not the best source material one can get. Yes, I may be a bit judgemental in this respect, perhaps.
    I had a look at the entry about Helion, he marries Sindbad’s ex-wife, but there is not more about Sindbad: Where did he live, what did he do etcetc. ? Usually at the end of the wikipedia articles one finds links to further information, nothing about Sindbad.

  4. All of that oscillating (chopping) is internal to the device. What it does is vary the amount of electricity going to the light bulbs which varies the amount of brightness of the light. i.e. very, very dim to full brightness. A useful side effect is that it correspondingly reduces the amount of electricity used.

  5. I think I understand now Sonnenbrille LX. I thought it would bring a kind of flickering to the bulb we could not see, but in fact it puts limits on the amount of energy that passes through – not turning it into heat like the old versions.

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