Peggy Guggenheim Photographed in Paris by Rogi André (ca. 1930)

Peggy Guggenheim (1898 – 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the Titanic in 1912, and the niece of Solomon R. Guggenheim, who would establish the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.

Peggy Guggenheim created a noted art collection in Europe and America primarily between 1938 and 1946. She exhibited this collection as she built it and, in 1949, settled in Venice, where she lived and exhibited her collection for the rest of her life. The Peggy Guggenheim Collection is a modern art museum on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy, and is one of the most visited attractions in Venice.

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Peggy Guggenheim in Paris by André Rogi, ca. 1930 via

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Peggy Guggenheim in Paris by André Rogi, ca. 1930 via

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Peggy Guggenheim in Paris by André Rogi, ca. 1930 via

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Peggy Guggenheim in Paris by André Rogi, ca. 1930 via

 

Vintage Portrait of Legendary Opera Singer Nellie Melba (1859-1931)

Dame Nellie Melba GBE (1861 – 1931) born Helen “Nellie” Porter Mitchell became one of the most famous singers of the late Victorian Era and the early 20th century. She was the first Australian to achieve international recognition as a classical musician.

She was an operatic soprano. She sang at Richmond (Australia) Public Hall at the age of six and was also a skilled pianist and organist, but she did not study singing until after her marriage to Charles Nesbitt Armstrong in 1882, with whom she had a son named George. In the 1890s she had an affair with Philippe, Duke of Orleans, that led to scandal and eventually divorce.

After the brief and unsuccessful marriage, she moved to Europe in search of a singing career. Failing to find engagements in London in 1886, she studied in Paris and soon made a great success there and in Brussels. Returning to London she quickly established herself as the leading lyric soprano at Covent Garden from 1888. She soon achieved further success in Paris and elsewhere in Europe, and later at the Metropolitan Opera, New York, debuting there in 1893. Her repertoire was small; in her whole career she sang no more than 25 roles and was closely identified with only ten.

Melba continued to sing until the last months of her life and made a legendary number of “farewell” appearances. Her death, in Australia, was news across the English-speaking world, and her funeral was a major national event.

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Drawing of the young Nellie Melba by Frank Haviland, published 1908 via

 

Lady Carnarvon by Paul César Helleu (c.1901)

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Paul César Helleu, Lady Carnarvon, ca. 1901.

Almina Victoria Marie Alexandra Wombell was the illegitimate child of Alfred de Rothschild, but grew up loved and pampered. She maintained a loving relationship with her father, who was exceptionally wealthy. The Carnarvon family needed an influx of money to maintain their estate at Highclere Castle. Almina, wealthy and accomplished, fell in love with George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert, the future 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Later, he became famous for excavating Tutankhamon’s tomb. The two lived a glamorous life set against the increasing tensions of a pre-World War I. When it quickly became obvious England was entering the war, Almina used her influence and wealth to turn Highclere Castle into a hospital for wounded soldiers. Her approach of individual care, home cooked meals, and holistic ideas were revolutionary at that time, and she found a natural talent for nursing. For four years she worked at both Highclere and later in London, establishing another hospital and gathering the best equipment and talent to help heal the wounded soldiers via