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Guggenheim, Peggy.

Art of This Century.


 Arnold Newman's Annotated copy
Signed by Ernst
Guggenheim, Peggy, ed. Art of This Century. Objects-Drawings-Photographs-Paintings-Sculpture-Collages 1910 to 1942. New York: Art of This Century, 1942.
4to.; endpapers lightly browned; yellow cloth; decoratively stamped in black with a Max Ernst drawing; spine darkened; upper panel lightly spotted. In a specially made cloth slipcase.
First edition; with prefaces by Andre Breton, "Genesis and Perspective of Surrealism," Hans Arp, "Abstract Art Concrete Art," and Piet Mondrian, "Abstract Art."
Includes one hundred pages of photographs of art works, brief biographies of the artists who made them, and small photographs of each artist's eyes. In Guggenheim's Introduction, she explains "The purpose of this book is to serve as a catalogue to the permanent collection exhibited at Art of This Century. As most things change unexpectedly during the course of their development this catalogue has, to my surprise, become an anthology of non-realistic art covering the period of 1910 to 1942. Its limitations are due to the fact that it contains only reproductions of paintings and sculpture owned by me" (9).
Arnold Newman's copy, signed by him on the upper right corner of the front endpaper: Arnold Newman/Oct 23, 1942/New York City, and annotated throughout. A noted American photographer, Newman (1918-2006) is known for his portraits of artists Picasso, Duchamp and Mondrian. He had a particular rapport with artists and often pictured them in their studios, surrounded by their work and the tools of their trade. This approach developed into a signature style that became known as "environmental portraiture" (though in fact he loathed this term, feeling it left out other equally important aspects of his process). In this annotated this copy, Newman indicates which artists he had photographed - in pencil, with occasional notes in ink: Marc Chagall in New York City (46); Piet Mondrian, with Newman's note, "Died (about Feb) 1944-NYC" (54); Marcel Duchamp "now here in N.Y.C./Oct '42" (56); Fernand Leger, with an arrow pointing to a cropped photograph of Leger's eyes and Newman's note, "(mine)" (68); Jacques Lipchitz (77); Amedee Ozenfant (79); Jean Helion, with Newman's note, "Escaped to England - now in U.S.A" (95); and Max Ernst, signed by Ernst on page 103; Newman has also underlined the names of the artists he photographed in the Index.  
Marguerite (Peggy) Guggenheim was born in New York City in 1898.  She was raised and educated by her nannies, having had only a superficial relationship with her parents. Her father, who descended from a wealthy family of miners and smelters, sunk with the Titanic in 1912, leaving his family with a smaller than expected legacy. In 1920 she moved to Paris, where she immediately fell in with a circle of artists and writers; she married the "King of Bohemia," the writer Laurence Vail, with whom she had two children, Sindbad and Pegeen. Her friendship with Marcel Duchamp provided her free "art education," and she heeded his advice when she opened her first gallery in London in 1938, Guggenheim Jeune. Guggenheim's success came, during World War II. She decided to close the London gallery, move to Paris, and start a museum, vowing to purchase "a picture a day." She left Paris in 1940, three days before it feel to the German Army, to move to New York.
In October 1941, she opened Art of This Century on 57th Street in Manhattan with the help of her second husband, Max Ernst. It was famed for its Surrealist design: gum-wood walls, turquoise floors, and an ingenious hanging system that made the art look like it was floating in air. Three months later, at Duchamp's suggestion, she sponsored the juried show, "Exhibition by 31 Women." (Ernst left Guggenheim for one of the exhibitors, the artist Dorothea Tanning.)  Guggenheim is responsible for launching many artists' careers: that of Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell, Clyfford Still, William Baziotes, and most notoriously, Jackson Pollack. Along with Lee Krasner, Guggenheim tried to focus Pollack's attention on his art; she gave him the money for his East Hampton home and studio, gave him shows at Art of This Century, and discouraged his drinking. Closing her gallery in 1947 in favor of Venice, Guggenheim installed herself and her collection in the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on the Grand Canal. Today it is a "sister museum" to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which houses her uncle's collection. She wrote two autobiographies, Out of This Century (1946) and Confessions of an Art Addict (1960); and died in Italy in 1979.

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