A selection of gifts of Italian art to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation over the past thirty years is exhibited in the PGC Project Rooms. Peggy Guggenheim’s interest in Italian art when she arrived in Venice in 1948 was immediate. Among other artists, in 1951 she met Tancredi Parmeggiani (1927–64) whose work introduces this gallery. He was to become her principal protégé in the 1950s. Guggenheim gave Tancredi studio space in the basement of Palazzo Venier dei Leoni and organized an exhibition in the Palazzo in 1954. His exploration of the vitality of space was at the root of Italian Spazialismo (Spatialism). Issues of pictorial space persist in other paintings exhibited here. Dadamaino (1930–2004) and Bice Lazzari (1900–81) explore signs and their relationship to and within space. Instead, for Agostino Bonalumi (1935–2013), Enrico Castellani (b. 1930) and Paolo Scheggi (1940–71) the canvas becomes a construction in space, no longer serving as a support, but rather a monochromatic relief or an object.
A room is dedicated to the recently restored painting by Amedeo Modigliani (1884–1920), Woman in a Sailor Shirt from 1916, portraying a melancholic girl in a navy blouse, and capturing a point of maturation in Modigliani’s work, which hinges on simplicity of line, form, and color. This painting was exhibited in the only solo exhibition given to Modigliani during his lifetime, at the Berthe Weill Gallery in Paris in December 1917. It was then sold by the dealer Paul Guillaume, and exhibited only a handful of times outside of Italy before 1934. Before joining the holdings of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation as a testamentary gift, Woman in a Sailor Shirt was in the collection of Luisa Toso in Venice for over fifty years.