Peggy Guggenheim is honoured in a spectacular show at Ordovas Gallery in London running until 14th December 2019. Guggenheim’s overriding objective in opening Guggenheim Jeune was to provide foreign artists an opportunity to show their work in London, and its programme became both the foundation for all of Guggenheim’s future endeavours and a catalyst for modern art in Britain.
Guggenheim’s years in London, as the director of Guggenheim Jeune the gallery she opened at the age of forty are little documented. Until now. Guggenheim’s overriding objective in opening Guggenheim Jeune was to provide foreign artists an opportunity to show their work in London, and its programme became both the foundation for all of Guggenheim’s future endeavours and a catalyst for modern art in Britain.
The exhibition is intended as an anniversary celebration and it showcases her parallel collecting interests in Abstraction and Surrealism through a display of works by Jean (Hans) Arp and Yves Tanguy. Guggenheim was advised by Marcel Duchamp and staged remarkable avant-garde exhibitions until the closure and bankruptcy of the gallery.
The accompanying catalogue includes an essay from Susan Davidson, curator and art historian, with previously unpublished material that came to light as a result of research undertaken for this exhibition; copies of a number of key documents will be illustrated, including unseen floor plans of the gallery space in a special vitrine.
Highlights include Flocons aux rayons jaunes (Flakes with Yellow Rays), a painted wood relief in the artist’s original painted frame was executed by Jean (Hans) Arp in 1946, displayed for the first time in the UK. It was formerly in the collection of the esteemed Swiss philanthropists Dr Georg and Josi Guggenheim, distant cousins of Peggy’s. The bronze sculpture Trois objets désagréables sur une figure (Head with Annoying Objects), was conceived in 1930 (and later cast by Susse Fondeur). The semantic ambiguity of the title echoes the formal ambivalence of the sculptures that Arp produced during this Surrealist era. Also on display will include Tête; Objet à traire (Head; Object to milk), a painted collage with gold leaf and fabric on board that was executed in 1925 and Fruit de pagode (Pagoda Fruit), a sculpture executed in cement in 1949.