Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Located on the left-hand side of the Grand Canal, just beyond the Church of the Madonna della Salute, you will come across a building that seems strange and unfinished, but is also elegant and well-tended. The Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, formerly home to the prominent and powerful Venier family, was originally planned to become one of the most sumptuous buildings in Venice. Construction of the palazzo began in or around 1748, but was halted after only one floor was completed. Undeterred by its rather sketchy shape, and upon seeing the palazzo with its beautiful garden, eccentric American heiress Peggy Guggenheim, a lover of modern art, la dolce vita and men, fell in love with it. She purchased Palazzo Venier in 1948, and moved in with her collection of contemporary art, subsequently opening both the palazzo and her extraordinary collection of artworks to the public. In 1980, after her death, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection was bequeathed to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which also manages the Solomon R. Guggenheim in New York and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. In 1985, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni was officially converted into a museum. Today, thanks to its 20th century collection of art, it is considered one of the most important museums in Europe. The collection includes masterpieces of Cubism, Futurism, European Abstractism, American Abstract Surrealism and Expressionism, as well as works by illustrious artists like Picasso, Pollock, Kandinsky, Miró, de Chirico and Dalí. It also hosts prestigious temporary exhibitions.