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Karole P.B. Vail Named Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection

Karol P.B. Vail.


The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation has announced that Karole P.B. Vail will be the next director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and director of the foundation for Italy. She succeeds Philip Rylands, the collection’s first director and its leader for 37 years. Rylands will become a director emeritus. Vail begins her new role this month.

Vail has been a member of the curatorial staff at the Guggenheim Museum in New York since 1997. She is currently working on the upcoming Alberto Giacometti retrospective, which will open in New York next year. Her previous curatorial credits include a László Moholy-Nagy retrospective in 2016, “From Berlin to New York: Karl Nierendorf and the Guggenheim” in 2008, and “Art of Tomorrow: Hilla Rebay and Solomon R. Guggenheim,” which looked at the collaborative relationship between the two founders of the museum and opened in 2005 on the occasion of the Guggenheim’s 50th anniversary.

“I have the deepest respect for [Vail’s] scholarship, curatorial insight, unfailingly sound judgment, and collegial management style,” Guggenheim director Richard Armstrong said in a statement. “I have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead the Peggy Guggenheim Collection into the future, and know that her personal ties to the institution and roots in Italy and Europe will add an unmatched depth and nuance to her work.”

Vail is also Peggy Guggenheim’s granddaughter from the collector’s first marriage with Laurence Vail, a poet and sculptor who ran in the same bohemian circles of 1920s-era Paris as Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray. Nine of his works are represented in the Peggy Guggenheim Collection. For her part, Vail organized the 1998 exhibition “Peggy Guggenheim: A Centennial Celebration,” which was exhibited both in Venice and at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. She also wrote an accompanying biography that details Peggy Guggenheim’s gallery pursuits in London and later in New York with Max Ernst, Guggenheim’s then husband, as well as her life and activity in Venice, where she would open up her famous collection of modern art ranging from Cubist and Surrealist works to Abstract Expressionism.

“I have known and loved Peggy’s collection, and the palazzo and garden that are its home, since I was a child,” Vail said in a statement. “Now it is my privilege and honor to lead this exceptional institution, carrying forward Peggy’s vision and ensuring that it remains a vital part of today’s culture, as she would have wanted it to be.”

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