Mistress of Modernism by Mary V. Dearborn
The Life of Peggy Guggenheim

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Synopsis

Peggy Guggenheim emerges in Mistress of Modernism as the ultimate self-invented woman, a cultural mover and shaker who broke away from her poor-little-rich-girl origins to shape a life for herself as the enfant terrible of the art world. Peggy's visionary Art of This Century gallery in New York, which brought together the European surrealist artists with the American abstract expressionists, was an epoch-shaking "happening" at the center of its time.
Dearborn's unprecedented access to the Guggenheim family, friends, and papers contributes rich insight to Peggy's traumatic childhood in German-Jewish "Our Crowd" New York, her self-education in the ways of art and artists, her caustic battles with other art-collecting Guggenheims, and her legendary sexual appetites: her lovers included Max Ernst, Samuel Beckett, and Marcel Duchamp, to name a mere few. Here too is a poignant portrait of Peggy's last years as l'ultima dogaressa -- the last duchess -- in her palazzo in Venice, where her collection still draws thousands of visitors every year.
Mistress of Modernism is the first definitive biography of a woman whose wit, passion, and provocative legacy come compellingly to life.
 

About Mary V. Dearborn

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Mary V. Dearborn is the author of MAILER: A BIOGRAPHY, as well as biographies of Henry Miller, John Dewey and Anzia Yezierska, and Louise Bryant. Dearborn holds a doctorate in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University, where she was a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities. Dearborn currently resides in New York.
 
Published September 15, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 417 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Education & Reference, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Richly detailed, highly sympathetic portrait of the Guggenheim who rebelled against her family and then left to them her extraordinary collection of contemporary art.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Mistress of Modernism: The Li...

Publishers Weekly

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Dearborn celebrates Guggenheim, the iconoclastic doyenne of abstract expressionism, in this appreciative, thorough biography. Born in 1898 to a "poor" branch of the family, Guggenheim moved

Aug 09 2004 | Read Full Review of Mistress of Modernism: The Li...

Review (Barnes & Noble)

Nazis avoided and the passports in place, Guggenheim and her group flew to America on the most luxurious of the Pan Am Clipper "flying boats"—old-world, white-glove service for the woman who helped create the "heady mix of cross-pollination and creative collaboration out of which came abstract ex...

Aug 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Mistress of Modernism: The Li...

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