The Guggenheim Foundation won a long-running legal dispute over the management of Peggy Guggenheim’s collection and former home in Venice.
The family of Sandro Rumney, the son of Peggy Guggenheim’s daughter, sued the Guggenheim Foundation in France in 2014. The impetus was the organization’s decision to accept 83 works from another collection and, as a result, place several works from Peggy’s collection (on view in her former Venice home) in storage to make room for the resulting exhibition. When she died, Peggy bequeathed her house and her collection to the Guggenheim Foundation in New York. The Rumney family argued that the recent removal of work from view violated both her wishes and a prior 1996 settlement reached between the the family and the foundation. But France’s highest court disagreed, ruling on Wednesday that the terms of the settlement didn’t prohibit the exhibition of work from another collection, and that the Rumneys had failed to prove that the display “damaged the reputation” of Peggy’s historic collection. The court also ruled against the family’s claim that the foundation had disrespected Peggy’s burial site and ordered the Rumneys to pay the foundation €3,000. The Guggenheim Foundation said it was “pleased that these meritless lawsuits and appeals have now come to an end,” in a statement to The Art Newspaper. A statement from the family said that Peggy’s collection should be treated as its own intellectual work, not to be changed through the display of outside pieces.