A woman wearing extravagant sunglasses. She sits on a gondola in a Venetian canal. She's surrounded by dogs. She looks straight at the camera. It's Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim, of course. A character immediately recognizable for fashion and art lovers alike.
One can say that she is a woman who fully lived for art. Her early childhood was marred by the death of her father on the Titanic, in which he perished. She grew up to live an unconventional, bohemian life filled with artists and travel. Peggy found a sense of purpose and family in the art world.
Fun Fact: according to Chinese zodiac, Peggy was born during the year of the dog, a sign known for honesty and strong opinions. Personality traits aside, however, this could explain her lifelong obsession with her Lhasa Apsos dogs.
With Marcel Duchamp as her guide, she fully embraces modern art, the Surrealists, the Cubists, the Dadaists, they all found an ally and a champion in Peggy, long before the mainstream art world had begun embracing them.
She was instrumental in the development of Jackson Pollock and Djuna Barnes' careers, helping them with money and living arrangements, so they could concentrate their energies on their art. While amassing one of the most incredible collections of modern art she also had affairs with everyone she desired with.
In the late 1940’s she bought the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on The Grand Canal, and made Venice her home for the rest of her life. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is located in her former residence.
Guggenheim, who preferred to spend her money on art rather than fashion, regularly commissioned her creative friends to design one-of-a-kind jewelry and clothing.
The most notable items from her accessories collection are the flamboyant bat-wing and butterfly sunglasses created by Edward Melcarth, an American artist and friend.
The statement-shaped frames reflect her passion for the surrealist and abstract European art she collected.
Along with her pouf of white hair, red lipstick, and extravagant earrings, they became her signature. She wore them butterfly sunglasses like a badge of honor.
Peggy's butterfly style glasses were a work of art–a vision of power; inspiring, shocking, and leaving others in complete awe.
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