Tuesday, 27 September 2016
On this visit, looking round the beautifully sited Peggy Guggenheim collection for the first time in many years, I realised that my taste in modern art had changed as well. Whereas before I had marvelled at the pioneering early-20th-century work of the Cubists, Surrealists and even Futurists and had been left cold by the Abstract Expressionists, I now found, to my surprise, that these responses had been reversed. Much of the early-20th-century stuff now seemed dry, lifeless, even academic - whereas the small collection of Abstract Expressionists stirred me as never before. In particular Jackson Pollock's vast Alchemy now speaks - or sings - to me, and I found it hard to tear myself away from the beautiful early Willem de Kooning (Untitled, 1958). Clearly I have changed, or my taste has.
However, the division was not that clear-cut, as at least three of the early-20th-century paintings caught my eye: a magical 1911 Chagall, La Pluie, and two wonderful Klees, Magic Garden (1926) [below] and Portrait of Frau P in the South (1924) [above], neither of which reproduces very well.
But enough - basta.