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 ?


Mole Antonielliana (Ger., Eng.) [roughly: The very big thing ANTONELLI (Ger., Eng.) built] is in itself a phantastic setting (a bit foggy in Turino when I looked the last time). It houses the lauded national film museum (Ger. article), one of several in Italy.
Originally built as synagogue Mole was for a long time one of the largest brick buildings in the world, only later it was reinforced with concrete and steel. I found it because the comments by Looby and Hipster Yaya here were about films and where one can find them. I think in the first part not about theatrical motion pictures, but documentaries, news reels – source materials for any kind of topic. I turned to Wikipedia hoping there would be a list of international institutions, Filmarchive, but sadly there are only national archives and museums listed (Ger.). “Filmarchiv” in Català brings better results, as does “Cinematheque” (Eng.). And finally we have an international list of film archives (Eng.) – and there is an organisation too. Additionally there is this list.
I already mentioned the BFI and the British Pathè; there is the Spanish film archive, the French one (mit der Aussenstelle Toulouse);  the US have a handful of these institutions, I think the Moma has a film archive too. British Pathè brings us to the Wochenschau (Ger., Eng., list), the Newsreel archive and its youtube channel. There seems to be no coherent collection of the Deutsche Wochenschau or Welt im Bild. I also miss French Pathè and all the others … yes I did not really search for it, but … is it possible that some million kilometers of film are still not digitized?
Finally, while I blab about old films, here is an example: French Pathè, 1908, Moscow in snow – what else? – I hope you enjoy it.