The 18th-century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was intended to be a four-storey palace, but the original design was never completed. The palace was supposed to be a tribute to Andrea Palladio and Baldassarre Loghena, the two architects who made Venice great. For financial reasons it was never completed. Hence its nickname, The Unfinished Palace. In 1949 the building was bought as a home by the American millionaire Peggy Guggenheim. She was a vibrant woman and a collector, dealer and patron of the arts. She befriended and promoted the careers of many innovative artists, one of whom, Max Ernst, later became her second husband. In Venice she was a much loved person.
The Peggy Guggenheim collection consists of 200 paintings and sculptures, boasting almost every movement in modern art. The dining room has notable cubist works of art, including Pablo Picasso. An entire room is dedicated to Jackson Pollock, who was discovered and promoted by the Guggenheims. Other artists represented include Miro, de Chirico, Magritte, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Duchamp, Chagall, Dalí and Malevich. The sculptures are arranged both in the house and in the garden. One of the most elegant works is the Maiastra by Constantin Brancusi.
The Guggenheim is one of the most visited places in the city and one of the most famous museums in Italy. The bright rooms and modern canvases contrast with the palace's Renaissance paintings, which are so popular with tourists. During her lifetime Peggy Guggenheim held open houses several days a week to allow art lovers to admire the collection. She also hosted regular events that often resulted in wild parties. Today the museum is also a monthly destination for students from Venetian schools who are introduced to art. The museum has a restaurant, a café and a gift shop.
We recommend that you buy your tickets online and carve out some time to enjoy the collection.