Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni’s long low façade, made of Istrian stone and set off against the trees in the garden behind that soften its lines, forms a welcome “caesura” in the stately march of Grand Canal palaces from the Accademia to the Salute.
Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was probably begun in the 1750s by architect Lorenzo Boschetti, whose only other known building in Venice is the church of San Barnaba.
It is an unfinished palace. A model exists in the Museo Correr, Venice. We do not know precisely why this Venier palace was left unfinished. Money may have run out, or some say that the powerful Corner family living opposite blocked the completion of a building that would have been grander than their own.
Nor is it known how the palace came to be associated with “leoni,” lions. Although it is said that a lion was once kept in the garden, the name is more likely to have arisen from the yawning lion’s heads of Istrian stone which decorate the façade at water level.
Early in 1951, Peggy Guggenheim opened her home and collection to the public and continued to do so every year until her death in 1979. In 1980, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection opened for the first time under the management of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, to which Peggy Guggenheim had given her palazzo and collection during her lifetime.
Peggy Guggenheim’s career belongs in the history of 20th century art. Peggy used to say that it was her duty to protect the art of her own time, and she dedicated half of her life to this mission, as well as to the creation of the museum that still carries her name.
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM COLECTION
704 Dorsoduro, 30123 Venice
Open daily 10am-6pm
Closed Tuesday, and December 25