Peggy Guggenheim’s Other Descendants Denounce Lawsuit

Peggy Guggenheim Collection Notches New Record, for 2016 Attendance
The Peggy Guggenheim Collection, in Venice. Photo Andrea Mancini, via Flickr.

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation has issued another statement countering the “spurious” claims of the current lawsuit filed by two of Peggy Guggenheim’s grandsons, Sandro Rumney and Nicolas Hélion, and their children. (See artnet News reports on the charges levied by the family and the foundation’s recent rebuttal.)

The latest missive includes a statement from several of Guggenheim’s descendants who are not party to the ongoing case. The collector’s sole heir was her son, Sindbad Vail, and his descendants, Clovis, Mark and Morgan Vail, offered their support for the foundations operations of the Venice museum:

We want to emphasize that while she was alive, our grandmother and great-grandmother Peggy arranged that her Foundation and the palazzo Venier dei Leoni should be transferred to the Guggenheim New York upon her death. This decision was made with the full agreement of her only heir (and executor of her estate), her son Sindbad Vail. He preferred, in accordance with the wishes expressed by his mother, notably during her lifetime, that her collection be given to people demonstrating the capability and expertise necessary for the management of this considerable and admirable patrimony.

Upon the death of our grandmother and great-grandmother, our father and grandfather Sindbad clearly confirmed to us his decision to respect Peggy’s wishes in full. It is in this spirit of respect, both for our grandmother and great-grandmother’s wishes and for the choice expressed by our father and grandfather, that we have always approved of the activities and management of the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation concerning the Peggy Guggenheim Foundation in Venice.

For almost 35 years our grandmother and great-grandmother Peggy’s Foundation has benefited from financial support and expertise in matters of administration, of presentation of artistic events and of exhibitions that have contributed as much to the preservation of her collection as to its becoming one of the most admired and frequented sites of modern and contemporary art in Italy. This is not even to mention her worldwide fame and reputation, which have been greatly increased. In consequence of all this, we consider the legal action initiated by some of our cousins to be entirely baseless and especially regrettable

In addition, the foundation once again pointed out that “the claims brought by Sandro Rumney, Nicolas Hélion and their children are no different from those that the same court dismissed twenty years ago.” The organization reaffirmed its confidence “that the allegations made against us will again be found baseless, as they were in 1994.”


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