Peggy Guggenheim (1898-1979)



Some Fun Facts About Peggy

Peggy has been the subject of numerous books, photographic exhibitions, magazine spreads, and featured as a character in movies and plays. Authors have delighted in her at times irreverent and vibrant retorts and endless stories.

Today not only is Peggy remembered and celebrated by the thousands of international visitors to her legacy museum Palazzo Venier dei Leoni on Venice’s Grand Canal, she is revered as a woman ahead of her time.

A recent Marie Claire book review by Helen Gent of Mistress of Modernism tells how just before she died, Peggy reflected; "I look back on my life with great joy. I think it was a very successful life. I always did what I wanted and never cared what anyone thought. Women's lib? I was a liberated woman long before there was a name for it."

Peggy commissioned painter Edward Melcarth to create bat-wing and butterfly sunglasses. Along with her pouf of white hair, red lipstick, and extravagant earrings, they became her signature.

Karl Lagerfeld recently paid homage to legend that is Peggy by channeling her signature style for Chanel's latest cruise collection in an eight-page spread with model Lara Stone for Harper's Bazar. Lagerfeld donated the pair of her sunglasses, he'd bought at auction, to her museum after using them in this shoot.

Peggy continued to host regular parties and entertained famous guests like Japanese artist and future wife of John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and American writer Truman Capote.

Peggy Guggenheim with the glasses designed for her by Edward Melcarth 1966

(c) Roloff Beny / National Archives of Canada