Peggy Guggenheim Collection
Contractors: Restoration of the main facade overlooking the Grand Canal. Demolition and restoration of the plaster on the facade overlooking Rio delle Torreselle: Impresa edile Minto Fracesco & C, Venezia
Iron elements: Fabbri Veronese, Vicenza
Steel windows profiles: Palladio Spa, Treviso
The museum is in Venice in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which used to be the private home of Peggy Guggenheim, former wife of Max Ernst and granddaughter of the American magnate Solomon Guggenheim.
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is one of the most prestigious museums in Italy for European and American art from the first half of the 20th century. The museum is in Venice in Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which used to be the private home of Peggy Guggenheim, former wife of Max Ernst and granddaughter of the American magnate Solomon Guggenheim.
In Venice the museum is better known as the “incomplete Palazzo”. Its construction began in 1748 to a project by the architect Lorenzo Boschetti (who also designed the Church of S. Barnaba), and it should have been a magnificent five storey palazzo, with a majestic classic facade with columns and lions, directly overlooking the Grand Canal and facing Palazzo Corner. However, construction had just begun when the work was halted – perhaps due to opposition from the powerful Corner family – and of this majestic project only the basement and first floor were completed, and the classic facade has remained unfinished ever since.
Its incomplete nature has always distinguished Palazzo Venier from the other buildings along the Grand Canal, and in 1949 Peggy Guggenheim found it so fascinating, that she decided to convert it into her famous home and museum, and it has remained untouched since her death in 1980.
In 2000 an enormous restoration project began to construct a new entrance, extend the exhibition space, transfer the administration offices, reorganise the internal and external itineraries, and reorganise the multi-level gardens. The last phase of the project was completed in 2009, with the restoration of the two main facades, the one over the Grand Canal and the other over Rio delle Torreselle. The most extensive part of the work (about 460 sq.m.) involved the difficult decision to remove the ivy, which, for more than 20 years, had totally covered the entire facade of the Museum overlooking the Grand Canal, but which was necessary to limit the damage to the columns and to highlight the “unfinished” appearance, which is one of the most distinctive features of the palazzo. The glazed openings have been restored with new steel frames, the only maintenance free material able to resist the attack from the Lagoon atmosphere. The new entrance door and all the windows have black painted steel frames, and some have new artistic wrought iron bars applied which recall the decoration of the original ivy.
Acciaio Arte Architettura 42