OUT OF THIS CENTURY: Confessions of an Art Addict by Peggy Guggenheim

OUT OF THIS CENTURY: Confessions of an Art Addict

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For some reason, Peggy Guggenheim (now 80) quotes extensively from the negative reviews this book received when first published in 1946. Time called it ""flat and witless as a harmonica rendition of the 'Liebestod'""--and age has not improved Guggenheim's dry recitation of lovers, travels, and galleries, combined here with sections from her 1960 Confessions of an Art Addict, and ending with a summary of her life since then. ""I have no pleasant memories of any kind,"" says Guggenheim of her friendless childhood. She went to Europe around 1919 (there are few helpful dates) and began a series of violent marriages and affairs. First husband Laurence Vail rubbed jam in her hair--""but what I hated most was being knocked down in the streets."" Subsequent liaisons with writer John Holmes and publisher Douglas Garman, marriage to Max Ernst, and a host of brief encounters with such notables as Marcel Duchamp (""at last after twenty years"") took place in New York and throughout Europe, making this largely a travelogue (""After we got back to Paris we went to London for a few days""). There are also namedrops aplenty: gallery dealings with Pollock, Mondrian, Brancusi, and others; parties with John Cage and William Saroyan. Artistic analysis is limited to Guggenheim's 1960 discussion of abstract expressionism--which she ""fostered"" --including her characterization of the Sixties as an ""age of collecting, not of creation."" A relic, best left on the remainder shelf.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 1979
Publisher: Universe