Diana Athill

Art For Heart’s Sake

Peggy Guggenheim: Mistress of Modernism

By

Virago 338pp £20 order from our bookshop

Peggy Guggenheim, born in 1896, had a complex heritage and left a muddled reputation. Her forebears on both sides, Jewish immigrants to the USA, were astonishing people who rapidly built vast fortunes out of nothing, and on the Seligman side (her mother’s) were sometimes eccentric to the point of lunacy. They created for themselves a super-luxurious ghetto in New York, a half arrogant, half defensive response to Gentile attitudes, opulent, exclusive and cosy for most of them, but potentially claustrophobic. Peggy’s father, who went down with the Titanic when she was thirteen, was one of the more fidgety members of ‘our crowd’, as they called themselves. Peggy herself, given a shove by an intelligent tutor, bolted.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Something of an 'eccentric billionaire’s hobby': reviews 'The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and… ,
    • "At the age of fifteen, drunk on stolen Chardonnay or stoned on pot at a swimming party, the thoughts that come imm… ,
    • For the latest Bookends, here's Alan Taylor musing on his stint as an assistant librarian. ,
    • A ‘pretentious ass and impotent arriviste’ who surrounded himself with ‘degenerates, hooligans, childish layabouts,… ,
    • . reviews 'Aristotle’s Way: How Ancient Wisdom Can Change Your Life' by ,
    • "As Beevor shows, it was one of the most daring, dangerous and fiercely fought operations of the whole war. It was… ,
    • "The characters are very rich and very male, with astronomical ambitions. The potted biographies in this book sugge… ,