Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero

From February 1 to April 14, 2014, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection presents Themes & Variations. The Empire of Light. This innovative curatorial formula for the spaces of the Venetian museum originated in 2002 and is now in its fourth edition. The project offers visitors a fresh perception of familiar and less familiar works in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection through a multi-layered dialogue between Modernist masters and contemporary artists, thanks also to loans from other collections. Within the same spaces, paintings from the 19th- and 20th-century avant-gardes confront thematically works produced in the aftermath of the Second World War and up to the threshold of the contemporary.

Themes & Variations. The Empire of Light combines art from Peggy Guggenheim’s museum, other works from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and a number of loans, including a selection from a refined American private collection. Seminal paintings by masters such as Edgar Degas, Henri Matisse, Mark Rothko, and Lucio Fontana will be displayed in the company of other paintings and sculptures in a vivid contrast and comparison. In this way, viewers will be provoked to look beyond the customary categories of the 20th century avant-garde, culminating in contemporary work by Gabriele Basilico, David Hockney, Gerhard Richter, Anish Kapoor, Thomas Ruff, Kiki Smith, Hiroshi Sugimoto, Piotr Uklański.


Homage to Fausto Melotti

Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, in collaboration with Fondazione Fausto Melotti

The final section of the exhibition is a tribute to Italian art by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, and specifically to Fausto Melotti (1901–1986), with works by this poetic sculptor such as Contrappunto II, Orfeo dimentico, Chiave di violino. Appropriately Melotti titled several of his sculptures Theme and Variations, whence derives the title of this series of exhibitions, since the first in 2002.


Themes & Variations. The Empire of Light is supported by Intrapresae Collezione Guggenheim, BSI. Swiss Bankers since 1873 and Regione del Veneto. The organizers are grateful to Corriere della Seraand Radio Italia as media partners. Hangar Design Group designed the exhibition’s communication materials. Grateful thanks to Mapei and Tempini as technical sponsors. Programs auxiliary to the exhibition are supported by the Fondazione Araldi Guinetti, Vaduz.