The high tide had recently flooded the city’s streets and plazas, but by the time I landed in Venice the sky was a bright forget-me-not blue and the sun was all ablaze. I settled in to the deliciously old-fashioned Gritti and romped down a seafood pasta on the Grand Canal-side terrace (with views to the splendor of Santa Maria della Salute on the opposite bank) to fortify myself for a return trip to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.
Now celebrating its 75th Anniversary, the collection of the fabled dealer and collector is showcased in her Venetian residence, Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. At one point, the exquisite one-story Palazzo belonged to the fantastic Marchesa Casati, a spendthrift eccentric who romanced Gabriele D’Annunzio, stepped out with a pet leopard on a leash, and consumed belladonna to widen her eyes.
No less eccentric herself, the fearless Peggy was an insatiable collector and a visionary dealer who was the first to showcase the work of Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner—and who championed the leading figures in the Dada (Max Ernst was her second husband), Surrealist, and Abstract Expressionist movements.
Photo: Clint Jenkins / Courtesy of Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas