Discover the museum's exhibitions

28 May 2008 - 18 October 2008, Galleria Gottardo - Lugano


Peggy Guggenheim, one of the greatest art patrons of the 20th century, loved to surround herself with ethnic artworks, which she would mix with contemporary pieces according to her whim, and then exhibit in her Venetian home, the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni. Hers was a genuine passion, born through phenomenological values that were fashionable at that time. She saw a quintessence of creativity in “exotic objects”, which went beyond the paradigms of reality, and was characteristic of the avant-garde period.

Foto gallery

The collection

From the information that we have at our disposal and from the vintage photographs in the Guggenheim Collection’s archives, there must have been at least fifty artworks originating mostly from Africa and Oceania. 35 of these are kept today at the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni; two are exhibited to the public and the remaining 33 are in a specific depository. After a careful restoration and scientific research project was carried out by the Laboratorio di Restauro e Museotecnica of the Museo delle Culture, the exhibition and its respective catalogue now display the ethnic artworks that had previously adorned the halls of the Palazzo Venier dei Leoni.

The catalogue

This project was developed with the collaboration of the Galleria Gottardo, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the Museo delle Culture (MCL). 
The exhibition catalogue "Ethnopassion. La collezione d'arte etnica di Peggy Guggenheim" assembles the results of an extensive research project conducted by the MCL. The three introductory essays were written by Francesco Paolo Campione, Alessia Borellini and Giulio Zaccarelli and explore the significance, value and history of the collection. In addition, MCL researchers and some of the leading experts in the field have prepared explanatory panels that describe each work of art to the general public. 

It is possible to purchase a copy of the exhibition catalogue. A Televisionet video about the exhibition is available for viewing at the Fondazione Antonio Mazzotta in Milan.

Ethnopassion. Peggy Guggenheim's Ethnic Art Collection.

edited by Francesco Paolo Campione
Edizioni Mazzotta, Milano 2008, 200 pp.
Chf 53.-
ISBN 978-88-202-1879-9