Untitled (Peggy’s Window).
Original ink painting (197 × 125 mm / 7.75 × 4.9 in). Brush and pen in dark ink on plasterboard. Initialled by Gysin in the lower right hand corner. Framed.
‘Peggy’s Window’ refers to the eighteenth-century Venetian Palazzo Venier dei Leoni, which was formerly the home of Peggy Guggenheim, and before her belonged to the flamboyant Marchesa Luisa Casati. In 1951 Peggy Guggenheim opened her home and art collection to the public and continued to do so every year until her death in 1979. In 1980, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection opened for the first time under the management of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, to which Peggy Guggenheim had bequeathed the palazzo and her collection.
Gysin stayed with Peggy Guggenheim during the All-American Venice Biennale of 1962 and painted the same window at the palazzo on a number of occasions. It was during this visit that he met Alfred Barr, curator of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, who was also staying at the Palazzo. Gysin showed him 'A Trip from Here to There, a Journey to Jajouka' (1958), an ink and gouache drawing which comprised of 48 connected sheets which Barr purchased for the Museum of Modern Art.
The present work was exhibited in 1994 at the Guillaume Gallozi Gallery, New York, and is illustrated in the catalogue (p.19 item 35). In the introduction Jason Weiss writes that ‘writing and painting crossed paths repeatedly throughout [Gysin’s] career. He was perhaps best known for creating the cut-up technique of writing, which his long-time collaborator William S. Burroughs was to develop so effectively. In this method Gysin was bringing a painter’s approach to writing by treating the text like a piece of cloth…’ Similarly his paintings and drawings drew influence from hieroglyphics and Japanese and Arabic calligraphy.
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