The Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice is hosting a major exhibition of the Sonnabend Collection until October 2nd, 2011.
The Ileana Sonnabend Gallery was arguably one of the greatest contemporary art galleries of the twentieth century. Its founder, Ileana Sonnabend, possessed a remarkable art collection. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is paying homage to Sonnabend by hosting an exhibition entitled “An Italian Portrait”.
Ileana Sonnabend, who died in 2007, was born Ileana Schapira in Bucharest, Romania, in 1914. The renowned art dealer and gallery owner married Leo Castelli in 1933, but divorced in 1959, marrying Michael Sonnabend in 1960. Ileana Sonnabend introduced Andy Warhol to France in Janurary 1964, after his first solo exhibition in New York. At the time, she took the precaution of exhibiting his work with that of “better known” artists such as James Rosenquist.
Sonnabend opened her first gallery in Paris in 1935 with her first husband Leo Castelli. In 1941, the couple moved to New York. They started assembling a collection and in 1957, opened a gallery in New York, one of the first to support Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg. In 1962, after her marriage to Michael Sonnabend, Ileana and her husband opened the Galerie Ileana Sonnabend in Paris, specializing in Italian and American artists.
The exhibition consists mostly of Italian works from the Sonnabend Collection and highlights Ileana’s relationship with Italy. “An Italian Portrait” features more than sixty works by fifty different artists.