Philip Rylands to Resign From the Peggy Guggenheim Collection After 35 Years

The longtime director of Italy's most visited museum will step down in June 2017.

Dr. Philip Rylands. Photo: PATRICK MCMULLAN/

Longtime director of Venice’s Peggy Guggenheim Collection and director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation for Italy, Philip Rylands has announced his resignation. Rylands will step down in June 2017 after 35 years with the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, including 16 as director.

“It has been my great honor to serve as Director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection,” Rylands said in a statement. “Peggy was a woman and a collector like no other. Celebrating, conserving and sharing her palazzo and her collection of 20th-century masterpieces for these many years has been a profound joy.”

Rylands first joined the Guggenheim Foundation as administrator of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection after the legendary collector’s death in 1979, when he oversaw operations and was responsible for the development of the iconic Venetian Palazzo. In 1986 he was promoted to deputy director of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection and was made director in 2000. Since 2009 he has also taken on the responsibility of Guggenheim Foundation director for Italy.

As the arts administrator’s storied career comes to an end he looks back on a successful tenure during which he led the Peggy Guggenheim Collection to become the most-visited modern art museum in Italy and the second-most visited museum in the city of Venice.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Rylands was also the driving force behind the conversion of the 18th century Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, Peggy Guggenheim’s former home on the Grand Canal, into a cultural institution. Today it houses her personal collection of modernist masters.

“For more than 35 years, Philip has brought to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection a genuine affection for its founder, dedication to the Guggenheim’s mission, and a deep commitment to education,” Richard Armstrong, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Foundation said. “The impact of his work can be seen in the record number of visitors to the museum in 2016, the thousands who have participated in its lauded internship program, and the numerous enhancements he has implemented to support expanded education and temporary exhibition programs.”

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