By Guggenheim, Peggy; Guggenheim, Marguerite; Prose, Francine
A biography of 1 of 20th century America's so much influential consumers of the humanities that covers her own lifestyles, uncompromising spirit, and relationships with such glossy masters as Jackson Pollock and guy Ray.
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Extra info for Peggy Guggenheim : the shock of the modern
In a letter to her friend the diarist and novelist Emily Coleman—who, on the strength of Peggy’s journals, had long considered her to be a gifted writer—Peggy reported that she lived and breathed for her book. Interviewed in Time magazine after her memoir was published, Peggy remarked that it was more fun writing than being a woman—a statement that would have come as no surprise to readers of her memoir, who could compare the unhappy saga of Peggy’s bad luck in love with the book’s jaunty, confident tone.
After a sobering paragraph about the frequency with which Ernst encountered the “new society” of ghostlike men he knew from the concentration camps in which he’d been imprisoned, Peggy slips back into the more comfortable persona of the dizzy rich girl, writing that Max spoke of the camps “as casually as if he was referring to St. ” This fear of letting the mood get dark is a sort of tic in the memoir, as it apparently was in Peggy’s conversation. At the Marseilles café, Peggy and her friends drank to keep their minds off the dangers they were facing.
But why did a woman who had gotten out of Paris just days before the Germans invaded and who had been donating so lavishly to Varian Fry’s Emergency Rescue Committee need Max Ernst to warn her not to tell the police she was Jewish? Peggy Guggenheim knew perfectly well that she was Jewish—and what that meant to the Germans. She had grown up in an insular society of wealthy German Jews who aspired to be like the aristocrats in Edith Wharton’s New York novels, though presumably unlike the Jewish caricatures who populate Wharton’s fiction.