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Extended Audio Sample Peggy Guggenheim: The Shock of the Modern, by Francine Prose Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Francine Prose Narrator: Carrington MacDuffie Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A spirited portrait of the colorful, irrepressible, and iconoclastic American collector who fearlessly advanced the cause of modern art.

One of twentieth-century America’s most influential patrons of the arts, Peggy Guggenheim (1898–1979) brought to wide public attention the work of such modern masters as Jackson Pollock and Man Ray. In her time, there was no stronger advocate for the groundbreaking and the avant-garde. Her midtown gallery was the acknowledged center of the postwar New York art scene, and her museum on the Grand Canal in Venice remains one of the world’s great collections of modern art. Yet as renowned as she was for the art and artists she so tirelessly championed, Guggenheim was equally famous for her unconventional personal life and for her ironic, playful desire to shock.

Acclaimed bestselling author Francine Prose offers a singular reading of Guggenheim’s life that will enthrall enthusiasts of twentieth-century art, as well as anyone interested in American and European culture and the interrelationships between them. The lively and insightful narrative follows Guggenheim through virtually every aspect of her extraordinary life, from her unique collecting habits and paradigm-changing discoveries to her celebrity friendships, failed marriages, and scandalous affairs. Prose delivers a colorful portrait of a defiantly uncompromising woman who maintained a powerful upper hand in a male-dominated world. She also explores the ways in which Guggenheim’s image was filtered through the lens of insidious anti-Semitism.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This vibrant biography shows that her cultural influence went far beyond mere philanthropy.”

    New Yorker

  • “By describing fairly the limits of her wealth, and the nous with which she spent it, Prose does justice to this great modern Maecenas.”

    Daily Telegraph (London)

  • “This excellent short biography appears in Yale’s Jewish Lives series, and Prose is a subtle and attentive chronicler.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “Prose situates Guggenheim right in the middle of the Modernist, as a new kind of woman who is hard to define, and in that she is a perfect product and reflection of her age, never less than fascinating. Without her, modern art would be much the poorer.”

    Independent on Sunday (London)

  • “Lively, complex, and inclined to shock, Guggenheim…emerges as the embodiment of the age in Prose’s judicious biography.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Prose skillfully blends the events of Guggenheim’s experience with details about the twentieth-century art scene, all in a vivid setting of time and place. Her depictions of key artists, family members, husbands, and others are distinctive in their complexity of character and contribute to a deeper understanding of the personal and professional facets of this enigmatic woman…This finely researched and well-written work honestly examines the often disturbing world of an acclaimed figure.”

    Library Journal

  • “With fresh insights and illuminating details, Prose vividly tells the poignant and remarkable story of this complex, combative, and passionate art champion and innovator, who weathered misogyny, anti-Semitism, betrayal, and her own demons to help build an audience for modern art.”


  • “An adroit and lively portrait.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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